Carlos Dunlap isn’t the only player representing the Bengals on Pro Football Focus’ top 101 players of the past decade.
As expected, Geno Atkins and A.J. Green each snagged a spot relatively high on PFF’s extensive list. As of this posting, Atkins is the top-ranked interior defensive lineman since the top 24 players have yet to be listed. He claimed the 31st overall spot.
31. DI GENO ATKINS
No interior defender notched more total pressures over the past decade than Geno Atkins, who pressured the quarterback 577 times across 10 seasons. In fact, he finished the decade with 68 more pressures than any other interior pass-rusher, which, as a figure in itself, would have ranked second only to Aaron Donald in 2019. Atkins also owns one of the best single seasons we have ever seen from a defensive tackle, back when he posted a grade of 93.9 in 2012. Atkins graded above 90.0 three times in the decade and has been a consistently dominant force as a pass-rusher.
Coming into the league in 2010, Atkins has had the entire decade to accumulate the impressive production he has. Before Aaron Donald took the throne in 2014, Atkins was the golden standard for 3-technique position. Since then, he’s been below Donald like everyone else, but has kept a solid pace and should be on track for an eventual Hall of Fame induction.
That’s the goal for Green as well, who was placed just behind Atkins at the 38th spot.
38. WR A.J. GREEN
If you set the threshold high enough, only Julio Jones and Antonio Brown gained more yards per route run than A.J. Green did over the past decade (2.39). That’s about the best way of summing up Green’s decade, as being right there with the very best — and most productive — receivers in football. We were robbed of a whole season-plus of his play due to injury over the past couple of years, but Green has been one of the toughest covers for defenses since he entered the NFL.
Recency bias goes against Green’s favor as he hasn’t been on the field since 2018. The seven years prior to that, however, make him worthy of his distinction as one of the best pass-catchers in the game. To remain consistently productive at a position that is loaded with talent league-wide, all while having a limited quarterback throwing him the ball, has been nothing short of impressive. It’s clear that the folks at PFF recognize that.
A.J. Green hasn’t just been one of the best wide receivers of the past decade— he’s been one the best players of the decade PERIOD.https://t.co/IZkkeAZUEd— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) May 13, 2020
The 2010s for the Bengals revolved around maximizing the prime years of both Atkins and Green. Now, in a new decade and era of the franchise, sending them out on a high-note should become a focal point for the front office.