No surprises here as the Bengals will be represented by their two best players in 2018 NFL Pro Bowl.
In what seems to be a bright spot during a 5-9 throw away season, the Bengals will be sending A.J. Green and Geno Atkins to the Pro Bowl to play for the AFC team as the Pro Bowl returns to the AFC vs NFC format.
Additionally, safety Clayton Fejedelem was voted a second alternate for special teams. Vontaze Burfict was voted in as a fourth alternate at inside linebacker. Alternates are added to the game if voted player(s) in their position group are unable to participate. Selections from the two teams reaching the Super Bowl will be among those unable to play, as will players who are not cleared due to injury.
Atkins was the lone Bengal voted in as a starter.
“Geno is having a strong and consistent season playing at a high level and it is great to see him honored once again,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “A.J.’s production on the field continues to rival the all-time greats at his position. His peers recognize his immense value as a receiver, voting him to an unprecedented seventh consecutive Pro Bowl to start his career.”
Atkins is easy as the he leads all defensive tackles in the NFL with nine sacks on the season. It seems like unless he gets shutdown due to injury that he will have another double digit sack season under is belt. That would be his third such season in his career. Atkins was a shoe in, not only because of his performance, but because of the lack of the competition in the AFC. Ndamukong Suh and Atkins seemed like easy answers for Pro Bowlers when guys like Aaron Donald and Gerald McCoy are taken out of the equation.
Green also greatly benefited from being in the AFC. Sure he is competing with players like Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins, but Green is the only other household name in that bunch. Green has had a down year by his standards. He only has 67 catches for eight touchdowns, and he is only 20 yards away from another 1,000 yard season. It would’ve been a crime to not give Green the nod though. He has put up those stats with zero help from his supporting wide receivers. Tyler Eifert only made it two games before being done for the season. Green being a Pro Bowler was an easy choice for the AFC.
The Pro Bowl selections are determined by the votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts as one-third toward determining the players who make it.
The NFL has retreated from their non-conference based Pro Bowl in order to return back to the AFC vs NFC this season, and we will see if that garners anymore attention from fans.
The real question is how many players will actually play in the game that are selected. Between players who make the Super Bowl not playing in it, and players choosing to pass on the invitation due to injury concerns, there is always a huge difference in talent from the original selected rosters to the final rosters for each team.
AFC Pro Bowl roster
- Wide receiver: Antonio Brown*, Steelers; DeAndre Hopkins*, Texans; A.J. Green, Bengals; Keenan Allen, Chargers
- Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva*, Steelers; Taylor Lewan*, Titans; Donald Penn, Raiders;
- Guard: Kelechi Osemele*, Raiders; David DeCastro*, Steelers; Richie Incognito, Bills
- Center: Maurkice Pouncey*, Steelers; Rodney Hudson, Raiders
- Tight end: Travis Kelce*, Chiefs; Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
- Quarterback: Tom Brady*, Patriots; Philip Rivers, Chargers; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
- Running back: Le'Veon Bell*, Steelers; Kareem Hunt, Chiefs; LeSean McCoy, Bills
- Fullback: James Develin*, Patriots
- Defense end: Joey Bosa*, Chargers; Calais Campbell*, Jaguars; Khalil Mack, Raiders
- Interior linemen: Geno Atkins*, Bengals; Jurrell Casey*, Titans; Malik Jackson, Jaguars
- Outside linebacker: Von Miller*, Broncos; Jadeveon Clowney*, Texans; Terrell Suggs, Ravens
- Inside/middle linebacker: C.J. Mosley*, Ravens; Ryan Shazier, Steelers
- Cornerback: A.J. Bouye*, Jaguars; Jalen Ramsey*, Jaguars; Aqib Talib, Broncos; Casey Hayward, Chargers
- Free safety: Eric Weddle*, Ravens
- Strong safety: Reshad Jones*, Dolphins; Micah Hyde, Bills
- Kicker: Chris Boswell*
- Punter: Brett Kern*
- Returner: Tyreek Hill*
- Special Teamer: Matthew Slater*
NFC Pro Bowl roster
- Quarterback: Carson Wentz*, Eagles; Russell Wilson, Seahawks; Drew Brees, Saints
- Wide receiver: Julio Jones*, Falcons; Adam Thielen*, Vikings; Michael Thomas, Saints; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
- Tackle: Tyron Smith*, Cowboys; Trent Williams*, Redskins; Lane Johnson, Eagles
- Guard: Zack Martin*, Cowboys; Brandon Brooks*, Eagles; Brandon Scherff, Redskins
- Center: Alex Mack*, Falcons; Travis Frederick, Cowboys
- Tight end: Zach Ertz*, Eagles; Jimmy Graham, Seahawks
- Running back: Todd Gurley*, Rams; Alvin Kamara, Saints; Mark Ingram, Saints
- Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk*, 49ers
- Defensive end: Everson Griffen*, Vikings; Demarcus Lawrence*, Cowboys; Cameron Jordan, Saints
- Interior linemen: Fletcher Cox*, Eagles; Aaron Donald*, Rams; Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
- Outside linebacker: Chandler Jones*, Cardinals; Ryan Kerrigan*, Redskins; Anthony Barr, Vikings
- Inside/middle linebacker: Luke Kuechly*, Panthers; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
- Cornerback: Xavier Rhodes*, Vikings; Patrick Peterson*, Cardinals; Marshon Lattimore, Saints; Darius Slay, LionsRunning back: Todd Gurley*, Rams; Alvin Kamara, Saints; Mark Ingram, Saints
- Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk*, 49ers
- Punter: Johnny Hekker*, Rams
- Kicker: Greg Zuerlein*, Rams
- Return specialist: Pharoh Cooper*, Rams
- Special teamer: Budda Baker*, Cardinals
* Indicates starter