ESPN’s NFL Nation is rolling out some content honoring the best of the NFL in the 2010s this week. On Wednesday, they revealed their all-decade team for the AFC North division; including 11 players on both sides of the ball and three specialists.
The Cincinnati Bengals were represented with five players on the team:
- WR: A.J. Green (2011-present)
- OT: Andrew Whitworth (2010-2016)
- DE: Carlos Dunlap (2010-present)
- DT: Geno Atkins (2010-present)
- CB: Adam Jones (2010-2017)
On offense, Green and Whitworth were easy candidates to select at their respective positions. Both players have strong arguments for simply making an all-decade team from the entire NFL, not just the division, and. both have played the majority of the 2010s in Cincinnati. Green has obviously not played anywhere else.
Green was also crowned as the Bengals’ player of the decade:
The fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft turned into one of the most productive wide receivers of the previous decade. Green ranks fourth in receiving yards during that span, trailing Julio Jones, Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas. And that’s despite the fact that Green didn’t play a single snap in 2019 after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason. In eight seasons, he has 8,907 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns. Green, who will be 32 at the start of the 2020 season, believes he can still be that dominant. Whenever he leaves Cincinnati, he’ll have a strong case for the Hall of Fame.
Dunlap and Atkins were clear choices as well. Atkins made the NFL’s All-Decade team earlier this year, and Dunlap has been a force in his own right for the same number of seasons lasting the full decade.
Though he could’ve easily made this list as the return man, Jones somewhat surprisingly took one of the two spots at cornerback. The highs of Jones’ career in Cincinnati displayed that of an above average cornerback. That he lasted with the Bengals for eight seasons in the decade should’ve helped his case as well.
With five players making up the 23-player team (Antonio Brown is listed for two spots), the Bengals have the third-most names represented. Players from the Steelers and Ravens make up the majority of the team.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 10
- Baltimore Ravens: 7
- Cincinnati Bengals: 5
- Cleveland Browns: 1
Did the AFC North ESPN writers miss any Bengals on this list? Let us know in the comments!