2 Bengals make ESPN's Top 100 players list
A panel of experts at ESPN recently released a list of players they predicted would be the top 100 players in football this year. The Bengals were not favored kindly.
More than 40 NFL experts voiced their opinion of which players should make the list. Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Bengals saw just two representatives: A.J. Green and Geno Atkins.
A.J. Green was voted the 51st best player in the NFL, according to the panel. Here is what Ben Baby of ESPN had to say about the 7-time Pro Bowl receiver:
"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."
A few years ago, it would have been a mockery to place Green this low on the list. Now there are 10 receivers ranked above him.
There is no question Green has struggled with injuries as of late, and his inability to stay on the field may have played a factor in ranking.
Coincidentally, another former 7-time Pro Bowler, Geno Atkins, was the only other Bengals player to make the list in 2019. Here is what Baby said about the Bengals star defensive lineman:
"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."
Atkins falls just 15 spots below Green on this list. There is no doubt the 2-time All-Pro defensive tackle was one of the best at his position for nearly a decade. However, his reign is starting to come to an end.
Still a Pro Bowler in 2018, Atkins is now 31 years old, and it stands to reason that his play will begin to decline in the next few seasons.
It's a shame that the Bengals didn't boast more representatives. Players like Joe Mixon, Jessie Bates, and Tyler Boyd could see their names on this list in due time.
As for now, the Bengals will continue to fly under the radar. Let's hope their list of elite NFL talent grows soon.