The Cincinnati Bengals are finally back on the board in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018, as A.J. Green has checked in at No. 22. This is the annual ranking created largely with player influence by the NFL.
“His catch radius is probably tops in the league,” said Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton. “For a guy to be that long and stretch the way he does and makes the catches look easy easily, he’s obviously one of the top receivers in the league.”
Green, who is entering his eighth NFL season, finished 2017 with 75 catches for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns. By Green’s standards it was a down year, but considering he was the only real threat at the receiver position, it is pretty amazing he put up those numbers.
After Tyler Eifert went down in Week 2 and John Ross out most of the year, Green had to deal with constant double and even triple teams at times from opposing defenses. Even so, Green is on pace to shatter franchise records and cement his place in NFL history.
Through seven seasons in the NFL has averaged 1,173 per year and over 80 receiving yards per game. He currently ranks ninth in career receiving yards among active receivers (8,213) and is nearing the illustrious 10,000-yard mark.
“A guy like A.J. Green, who can run any route in the route tree at his size, you know (Andy) Dalton just throws it up, with a player like A.J., you just know he’s gonna come down with it,” said Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Ever since Green came to the NFL, he’s gained respect from his peers. Green has been ranked as high as No. 9 (2014), and as low as No. 77 (2011) following his rookie season. He was ranked No. 17 in 2017 after coming in at No. 16 in 2016.
“Anytime that ball goes up, in my head and on defense, we already know he (Green) is going to get it,” said Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Saying all of this, was this ranking an accurate portrayal of where Green was in the NFL hierarchy in 2017? You could make an argument that, due to the Bengals’ myriad of offensive issues, he deserved to be higher and really put up amazing numbers in an offense that was otherwise a disaster in 2017.
Or, you could argue this was the year to drop Green a little more in the ranking. After all, according to Pro Football Focus, Green posted career lows in yards per route run (2.1), catch rate (56.0), and yards per game (67.4) last season.
After all, Geno Atkins came in at No. 63 in this same ranking. Was Green 41 spots better than Atkins?
What are your thoughts on the ranking?