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3 Bengals appear in CBS Sports’ top-100 NFL players list

Can you guess the three Cincinnati players who made the list?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Another arbitrary list by the media and another perceived snub to the 2018 Cincinnati Bengals. The team is in a bit of transition, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a talented roster.

Don’t tell CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco that nonsense, though. A columnist who has traditionally been favorable to the Bengals in recent years, isn’t having any of it when it comes to his 2018 top-100 NFL players list. Just three current Bengals made the list, while one former Bengals player, Andrew Whitworth (No. 75), made it.

Predictably, star receiver A.J. Green made Prisco’s list at No. 35. At that spot, Green comes in as the league’s fifth-best receiver by Prisco’s standards, behind Antonio Brown (No. 5), Julio Jones (No. 13), Odell Beckham, Jr. (No. 14) and Michael Thomas (No. 34).


He had 77 catches with eight touchdowns on an offense that was hit hard by injuries and had bad line play last season. Are his best years going to waste?

While Prisco’s last rhetorical question is a valid one, that doesn’t necessarily mean Green should be pushed down a list because of it. The four players in front of him have quarterbacks who have either been to or won a Super Bowl, with most seemingly heading to the Hall of Fame. Andy Dalton has had a solid career, but Green isn’t necessarily working with Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan or Eli Manning.

Another predictable Bengals player making the list is Geno Atkins, who comes in at No. 40.


Atkins was back looking like the young Atkins last season. He is a power player with unreal quickness.

Aaron Donald (No. 3), Calais Campbell (depending on how you view him, is at No. 15) and Fletcher Cox (No. 36) are all interior linemen ranked in front of Atkins. Not too many gripes, but No. 97 for the Bengals is definitely on his way to paving a Hall of Fame career for himself, despite flying under many folks’ radars.

However, the third and final Bengals player to make Prisco’s list may come as a bit of a surprise. Cornerback William Jackson, fresh off of a 2017 campaign with some significant playing time, ranks at No. 65 on Prisco’s top-100 list.


He emerged as a shutdown corner last season, his first on the field after missing his rookie season in 2016. He had two impressive games against Antonio Brown.

Those two games against Brown seemingly put Jackson on the national map and he has been a darling of NFL metrics folks all offseason. His lone interception last year was a pick-six against Aaron Rodgers (No. 1 on the list), but he also had an insane 14 passes defended in rotational duty--including four of those when covering Brown.

Jackson is slated to be one of the team’s starting corners in 2018, as Adam Jones was let go a few months back, and he appears to be running with the baton.

“I feel like I did good last year, but obviously I wasn’t a starter,” Jackson said in a recent interview. “A lot of people around the world don’t actually know about me over here. They’ll definitely know about me this year. “Last year I was kind of hesitant about going and getting the ball. Not this year. I want multiple picks — seven or eight.”

Every time these annual lists make their way to national headlines, the yearly expectation is that Green and Atkins will be on these lists until the end of their respectively amazing careers. However, we’ll see if Jackson can live up to the offseason hype and build off of his impressive 2017 campaign.

What do you think of Prisco’s rankings of these three Bengals players and the omission of others? All things considered with 32 NFL teams and 100 spots on the ranking, three players would be just about average.