The Cincinnati Bengals finally cracked the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 when Geno Atkins checked in at No. 63. The list is created with player influence by the NFL.
This is the third-straight year in which Atkins has made the annual ranking of the NFL’s top players by the players after coming in at No. 68 in 2017. He came in at 29th overall in 2016 after failing to make it in 2015. Atkins was voted 48th in 2013.
Atkins, who just finished his eighth NFL season, appeared in all 16 games in 2017 and finished with 46 total tackles, nine sacks, and was ranked second among interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus (accounts for 4-3 and 3-4 defensive tackles). He was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl.
“Geno Atkins is the top d-tackle to me. He’s a destroyer,” Cameron Heyward of the Steelers said. “He’s got all the pass rush moves and then can bully you and get to your quarterback with ease.”
This comes after Atkins played all 16 games in 2016 and finished with 32 total tackles, nine sacks, and was ranked sixth among interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus.
“Geno has the suddenness about him, that when the ball snaps, it comes on you so fast. It’s really hard for guards to block him,” former teammate Eric Winston said.
Regarded as one of the best pass-rushing defensive lineman in football, Atkins has recorded 29 sacks over the last three seasons.
Anyone who watches Atkins plays knows there’s not 62 players better than him in this league. Problem is, he plays for a team that’s endured two-straight losing seasons, and his defense struggled mightily at times in 2017.
“The thing about Geno is he’s short. He’s like 6’1”, so you hit him and he’s underneath your pads already,” former Bills guard Richie Incognito said. “He plays with leverage and I think that’s what makes him so great, really.”
Here’s to hoping the Bengals have a resurgence in 2018 that leads to Atkins getting the respect he deserves.
Be sure to keep watching the NFL Top 100 show in each week so see more Bengals make the list. At the very least, A.J. Green will hear his name called at some point.
As former Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith said, “You might as well go ahead and put two on him, because he’s going to take up two regardless. Because he’s that good of a football player and he demands that much respect.”