You can always count on NFL Network’s annual Top 100 players list to incite great displeasure from fans and analysts alike. Bengals fans were especially upset by this year’s list since it didn’t include a single player from the team.
Cincinnati did only win two games, but the idea that there were no Bengals worth being on the list was understandably upsetting.
This is why CBS Sports’ top 100 players featuring five Bengals players will be a breath of fresh air for fans. We’ll talk about them from lowest to highest ranked.
Joe Mixon: No. 73
Some fans may not be happy about this low of a ranking for Mixon, but we have to be honest here. Despite him having an amazing second half of the season, his first half was extremely rough. The offense did finally seem to figure out how to open up some holes for him, and Mixon himself seemed to run harder than the first half of the season. If we see a full season like that, there is no question he will shoot up lists like this.
Carlos Dunlap: No. 72
Dunlap was another Bengal who woke up during the second half of the season. He had eight sacks in the final seven games of the 2019 season. He missed a couple of games in 2019, and it seems like as he is getting a little longer in the tooth he benefits from having guys like Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson both healthy to keep a rotation at defensive end. Are Dunlap’s days of being a pass rusher you can hope of getting to double digit sacks gone? Maybe, but even if they are he is still doing a great job in the run game.
A.J. Green: No. 63
Green hasn’t played in an NFL football game for awhile now. Multiple injuries have kept him from hitting the field, and it may be one of the biggest reasons for the offensive struggles the past few seasons for Cincinnati. There is still that reasonable expectation that a healthy Green can put up big numbers in the offense. Especially now that Joe Burrow is going to be leading the team. It seems like more of a question of if Green can stay healthy more of there being an expectation of a decline in his play.
Geno Atkins: No. 53
There are a lot of NFL defensive tackles that are tearing up the league right now that owe so much to Atkins for coming in and dominating. The stigma of undersized interior linemen has almost been completely erased. That being said, Atkins obviously isn’t that same defensive tackle that ranked in the 20’s or even teens at times. This seems like a fair ranking, but the addition of D.J. Reader should free Atkins up so he doesn’t have to work so hard to beat double teams that often.
One player who should’ve made it
If there’s one player who’s consistently underrated or omitted from these lists entirely, it’s Tyler Boyd. Cases can be made for other players, but Boyd has been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Bengals the past two seasons. Part of that is due to staying healthy, but that isn’t to take away from the fact he has completely balled out. 90 receptions and over 1,000 yards as the only real threat in the passing game for most of the season is impressive. I would say a ranking in the 90’s would’ve been more than deserved, but that is what happens when a team struggles.
What do you think of CBS Sports’ list?