Bengals: Former defensive lineman considered best value draft pick

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals hit the jackpot when they selected Geno Atkins with the No. 120 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Atkins was the Bengals’ best value draft pick according to Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus.

Renner wrote:

"Andrew Whitworth deserves a shoutout here as well, but Atkins was drafted later on and arguably had a higher peak. A member of a 2010 draft class that also featured Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, it was Atkins who enjoyed the longest sustained success of the bunch, averaging just under 58 pressures a season for the first 10 years of his career with three straight seasons of 70.0-plus from 2015 to 2017."

As Renner notes, Atkins was taken on Day 3 of the draft and that’s ultimately what got him the nod over other names like Whitworth. Atkins went in the fourth round out of Georgia and by his third year in the NFL was an All-Pro defensive lineman. That’s pretty impressive for a fourth-round pick.

Geno Atkins is the Bengals’ best value draft pick since 2006.

Atkins was a member of the Bengals for the first 11 years of his career and was released this offseason after appearing in just eight games in 2020. He failed to notch a single sack in what ended up being his final year with the organization and is still waiting for his next NFL team in free agency.

While it’s hard to see Atkins leave and even harder imagining him in an NFL uniform that isn’t the Bengals’, he’s already made it known that a reunion with the team that drafted him isn’t going to happen. Even if he were willing to come back to Cincinnati, last season proved that he isn’t the same player he was early in his career and this is a team that desperately needs defensive playmakers on that side of the ball.

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It’s easy to see why Renner picked Atkins as the Bengals’ entry on this list. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and named All-Pro twice while also earning a spot on the 2010s All-Decade Team for his efforts. Not bad for a fourth-round pick.