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Current Bengals superstars and their Hall of Fame counterparts

Given the Hall of Fame ceremonies and the first official game of the 2016 season kicking off, we thought we’d give some comparisons of some current Bengals stars to other immortal NFL players.

Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s the Hall of Fame weekend in the NFL and, as always is the case in the first week of August, tonight will mark the first preseason game of the NFL season. The Cincinnati Bengals have had their fair share of great players, but varying factors have kept all but one Bengal out of the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio.

Coinciding with the kickoff of a new season is the honoring of NFL greats, which is signaled with Sunday’s festivities. In case you haven’t heard, Kevin Greene, Orlando Pace, Marvin Harrison, Ken Stabler, Ed DeBartolo, Jr., Tony Dungy and Dick Stanfel all had their busts added to the NFL Hall of Fame last night.

While the Cincinnati Bengals have had a number of great players over the years, only one two figureheads have been directly sent to the NFL Hall of Fame: Paul Brown and Anthony Munoz.

Unfortunately for Bengals fans, Brown largely gained his immortal accolades with the Cleveland franchise that bore his name, while other talented players were either eschewed from the designation or given the HOF status via another club. Still, there are a number of former and current players whose names should be honored in Canton, especially considering others who have made it.

Part of Marvin Lewis’ renaissance with the Bengals has come with his drafting and/or developing players into superstars, which is largely-viewed as his biggest strength. Let’s run through some of the Bengals who have played under Lewis’ watch that are on-par with current Hall of Famers and should one day be honored in Canton.

A.J. Green and Randy Moss:

Moss, a polarizing receiver who will soon be donning Vikings horns in Canton, has a number of similarities to current Bengals superstar A.J. Green. Moss’ off-field antics and reputation of being “un-coachable” don’t compare to Green’s stand-out personality, but other factors are eerily similar.

The long, lean stature and antelope-like gait for the deep ball bears striking resemblance, as does each player’s uncanny ability to fight through tackles after hauling in a bomb. The toe-taps and other ballet-like moves are also commonplace in both receivers’ highlight reels.

However, if we’re looking strictly at on-field differences, there are a couple. Moss was incredible at always coming down with a bomb, and while Green comes down with big plays, he is more adept at working the sticks. In his earlier years, there were some instances of “concentration drops” by Green, which he has since cleaned up, while Moss just became disinterested when asked to make the contested catches.

The numbers for either don’t seem to fully coincide, but there’s no doubt Green has been one of the biggest cogs in the team’s rebuilding project since 2011 and one of the best receivers in the league over the past half-decade. Moss isn’t a Hall of Fame player yet, but he’s a shoo-in once eligible, and the same will likely be for Green, even with the small-market stigma.

Key Numbers for Moss: Six Pro Bowls, Four All-Pro designations, 11-plus touchdown receptions per year average throughout career.

Key Numbers for Green: Five Pro Bowls in five seasons, 83 catches per year on average, five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in five seasons. (Moss and Green are the only two receivers in NFL history to have 1,000 yards receiving in each of their first five seasons in the league.)

Geno Atkins and John Randle:

This comparison is once again more about on-field similarities, as opposed to personality. There’s also the idea of both players being under-appreciated as incoming prospects because of being undersized, showing how flawed the draft process can be.

Randle, a 2010 Hall of Fame inductee, was notorious for trash talk and huge numbers. He was a terror on the interior of the defensive line for 14 years in Minnesota and Seattle. Randle went undrafted in 1990, carving out one of the best NFL career arcs in recent memory, as evidenced by his 137.5 quarterback sacks. Atkins is quiet and not one to trash talk, instead he lets his play do the talking.

Meanwhile, thanks to a string of both luck and aptitude in the draft, mid-round defensive tackle picks have done well for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. The biggest example of success in that area is Atkins. After falling to the fourth round, Atkins was a guy who many scouts felt would be a niche player in the NFL, at best. However, Atkins has become a top-five defensive lineman in the league and contributes as a pass-rusher and run-stopper.

Key Numbers for Randle: 9.8 sacks per year average, seven Pro Bowl appearances, six All-Pro designations.

Key Numbers for Atkins: 7.2 sacks per year average, four Pro Bowl appearances, three All-Pro designations.

Andrew Whitworth and Dan Dierdorf:

Most younger football fans probably only remember Dierdorf from his announcing careers on Monday Night Football and CBS. However, long before he was in front of a microphone dissecting games, Dierdorf was a Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the Cardinals.

Now, for the long-tenured football fans, I understand the glaring disparity between Whitworth and Dierdorf: position on the line. Dierdorf cut his Pro Bowl teeth as a right tackle, while Whitworth has earned his stripes on the left side. However, Dierdorf was a left tackle in his early days, and like Whitworth, he moved to different positions when the team asked him to do so because of personnel issues (see Whitworth’s playing left guard in 2013).

Like Dierdorf, Whitworth is known as a big mauler, who was quite athletic for his size. Dierdorf didn’t allow a quarterback sack in the 1975 and 1976 seasons, which has also been a staple of Whitworth’s under-appreciated resume. Unfortunately, because of the small-market team issue, a lack of Pro Bowls to his name and the Bengals not winning in the playoffs, Whitworth will probably have a tough time making it into the Hall of Fame. He is, however, one of the best offensive linemen in team history, ranking up there with Willie Anderson and the best NFL tackle ever, Anthony Munoz. Of course, if the Bengals could win a Super Bowl in one of Whitworth’s last years in the league, he could boost his HOF resume.