In the 4th-round of the 2010 Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle out of Georgia. In just three years, Atkins has quickly established himself as one of the best defensive lineman in the league today. He made himself known in 2012 by sacking the QB 12.5 times, the most by an interior lineman since 2004. Now, he looks to improve even more in 2013, and the entire Bengals fanbase wants to see even better things as well, and I believe he is certainly capable. He is also on a contract year, so he needs to continue being the man.
Grantland did an in-depth feature on just how dominant Atkins was in 2012, and how he’ll continue to be one of the best players in football in 2013:
His 12.5 sacks were tied for 15th most in a single season by a defensive tackle in NFL history, according to Pro-Football-Reference, but sack totals do very little to illustrate just how dominant Atkins was. His 62 total hits and hurries (as tallied by Pro Football Focus) were 13 more than the next best defensive tackle (Ndamukong Suh), and his 86 total pressures were the third most of any defensive player in the league. Let’s note this again — he’s a defensive tackle.
The dominance translated to the run game as well, where Atkins’s 28 stops (again according to Pro Football Focus) were second among defensive tackles. His 18 tackles for loss were also best at his position, according to Advanced NFL Stats.
Of all the things to be excited about in Cincy, this guy tops the list, and when it comes to defensive players not named Watt or Miller, there’s no one I’m looking forward to watching more this fall.
I think he will indeed have a bigger year in 2013. He will have more tackles and maybe more sacks. By the end of the year, everyone will know his name, and any quarterback will be scared to play him.
2013 Stats that I predict