ESPN released their annual player projections for the upcoming season. Let’s just say they don’t believe in too many Bengals, including just two in their top 100.
Unsurprisingly, the two were that were included were star receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Cincinnati has arguably two snubs. Both Joe Mixon and Carlos Dunlap could’ve had a claim for a top-100 spot.
However, no one is arguably quite yet.
At the same time, Green, who was ranked No. 51 (WR No. 11), isn’t expected to start Week 1, missing time with an injury sustained during training camp. Missing the back half of the season last year, Green must prove he can stay on the field to end the season still on this list.
Here’s what ESPN’s Cincinnati beat writer, Ben Baby, said on Green.
“When he’s on the field, Green is one of the most dynamic receivers in the game. Since the Bengals drafted him in 2011, he has been among the league leaders in receptions (fifth), receiving yards (fourth) and touchdowns (sixth). Green will be coming off an ankle injury that happened during the first practice of training camp.”
Just 15 spots under Green was Geno Atkins, coming in at No. 66 (DT No. 5). A seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All-Pro, Atkins has been the heart and soul of this offensive line for almost a decade.
“Atkins extended his Pro Bowl streak to five straight years and ensured the Bengals had at least one representative for the eighth straight year. The silent defensive tackle is already living up to the four-year extension worth $65.3 million that he signed in 2018. In his first year under the new deal, he tallied a team-high 10 sacks,” Baby wrote.
Atkins and Green aren’t the only two that’d be familiar to diehard Cincinnati fans. Former Bengal Andrew Whitworth also cracked the list, coming in at No. 80 (OT No. 4).