4. Carlos Dunlap
Now we are getting into the players who defined the Bengals’ decade. Carlos Dunlap was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In his time with the Bengals, he has racked up 81.5 sacks, the most in franchise history. Over the past 10 years, Dunlap has earned himself two contract extensions.
Dunlap has been a key player on a defensive line that was among the best in football at various different times throughout the 2010s. Even in the 2019 season at the age of 30, Dunlap showed he has plenty of defensive production left in the tank. Dunlap earned an 89.7 grade on Pro Football Focus in 2019, the highest overall grade of his career.
3. A.J. Green
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the Bengals took A.J. Green with the fourth overall pick. Ever since being drafted, the former Georgia star has been one of the best receivers in the entire league.
Green started his career with five straight 1,000 yard seasons. The Bengals made the playoffs every one of those years in large part due to his play. Green made seven consecutive Pro Bowls to start his career, the only two seasons in which he missed the honor were seasons cut short due to injury.
Green has made a case for himself to be considered the Bengals’ best player of the decade, the best wide receiver in franchise history, and possibly earn induction to the Hall of Fame one day. The only reason he finds himself at number three on this list is that he was a slam dunk pick so early in the draft, the next two players were better values.
2. Andy Dalton
In the same draft as A.J. Green, the Bengals selected Andy Dalton out of TCU in the second round. Carson Palmer had threatened retirement if not traded and the franchise had to find a new quarterback. They found that in Dalton. Though he has been a controversial player during his time in Cincinnati, it can’t be disputed that The Red Rifle took command of the team at a time of disarray and led them to five straight playoffs.
Dalton broke many franchise records during his time with the Bengals, including most career passing touchdowns, most career passing completions, most single-season passing touchdowns, and the two highest single seasons in passing yards.
His time in Cincinnati is drawing to a close, but the Bengals made a great pick in the second round of the 2011 Draft and got one of the top quarterbacks in franchise history. Fans should be thankful for the most decorated redhead in Cincinnati sports history.