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A.J. Green is on pace for elusive NFL first-team All-Pro selection

Despite the Bengals’ offensive woes, Green is having another great season. But will it be enough to win that elusive First Team All Pro award?

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

There is no argument that A.J. Green is an elite wide receiver.

Since first donning a Cincinnati Bengals uniform back in 2011, there was no question that his innate ability to get open and his concentration to catch the most difficult of passes were among the best in the NFL. He has been awarded with six Pro Bowl appearances in his first six seasons.

Through his first 91 NFL games, projecting his statistics over a 16 game season, he would project out for 90 receptions, 1,343 yards, and nine touchdowns. This compares favorably to another great Bengals wide receiver, Chad Johnson, who averaged 81 receptions, 1,208 yards, and seven touchdowns over a 16 game season after his first 91 NFL games. By comparison, Green’s averages are 11 percent better in receptions and receiving yards, and 29 percent better in receiving touchdowns.

But despite all the great accomplishments that Green has produced on the field, the one accolade that has eluded him is the selection to the First-Team All-Pro list. Last year seemed to be the year that would finally end this drought as he was the NFL’s leading receiver thru nine games.

But a season-ending injury against the Buffalo Bills denied him the award, which is often given to receivers with the highest total statistical accumulations for the given season.

This year, as we approach Week 7 of the NFL season, Green again appears to be headed towards that elusive First-Team All-Pro selection. Green is only one of four wide receivers who are currently on pace to finish 2017 with at least 80 receptions, 1,000 yards, and eight touchdowns.

The list, with projected totals, includes:

  • A.J. Green – 102, 1613, 10
  • Larry Fitzgerald – 112, 1240, 8
  • Mike Evans – 86, 1187, 10
  • DeAndre Hopkins – 99, 1019, 16

Green is only one of three wide receivers who are currently on pace to finish 2017 with at least 100 receptions and 1,250 yards. The others, with projected totals, include:

  • Antonio Brown – 128, 1867, 5
  • A.J. Green – 102, 1613, 10
  • Adam Thielen – 101, 1304, 0

Making a premature prediction at the selections for the 2017 First Team and Second Team All-Pro members, based on their current statistical projections, they would likely be awarded to the following players.

First Team All-Pro:

  • Antonio Brown – 128, 1867, 5
  • A.J. Green – 102, 1613, 10

Brown has a huge lead in receptions and yardage over the rest of the NFL’s wide receivers. If this holds up, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him finish as a first-team winner again. Green is currently on pace to finish with 300 more yards than the third place yardage leader (Adam Thielen), and is on pace for over 100 receptions, and double-digit touchdowns. It would be difficult to see him denied a first team award if he keeps this going.

Second Team All-Pro:

  • Stefon Diggs – 74, 1264, 13
  • Larry Fitzgerald – 112, 1240, 8

Heading into the 2017 season, Diggs would have been a big underdog to win this award, with the Vikings still missing starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, relying on a mix of Sam Bradford and Case Keenum. Fitzgerald would also have been something of an underdog, as a 34-year-old receiver catching passes from a 38-year-old Carson Palmer.

A couple of players who would also be in consideration for the second team award based on current projections would be Mike Evans (86, 1187, 10) and DeAndre Hopkins (99, 1019, 16). Assuming the current projections play out, it will likely depend on how much value the voters put on touchdowns versus yards.

Here are the current projections for every NFL wide receiver on pace for a 1,000-yard season, and where A.J. Green fits among them.