Four Cincinnati Bengals players were recently ranked as the best in the league in 2022, and we bet you can guess at least three of them.
The three J’s: Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Joe Mixon. That trio of Bengals found themselves inside the top 50 of the NFL Top 100 list, and 2022 also marks the first year that any of them were featured in these rankings. There’s a certain dominant Bengals pass-rusher, too, who’s rightfully included on this list and deserves the recognition as much as any of those offensive weapons.
Let’s break down each player’s 2021 performance.
NFL Top 100: Joe Burrow, No 21
"Burrow took his team further in 2021 than Cincinnati had been in over 30 years, and it was just his second season. With Burrow taking snaps, the Bengals won their first playoff game since the 1990 season, and then made it all the way to their first Super Bowl since the 1988 campaign."
It’s no secret that Joe Burrow is the most talented player on the Bengals squad, so it should come as no surprise that he’s the highest-ranked Cincinnati player on the list. We think he could have been ranked inside the top 20, but he’s only completed one full NFL season in his career so far, so his placement on the list is understandable.
Burrow recorded the second-highest passer rating in the league at 108.3, bested only by NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, and enjoyed some of his most impressive games against fellow elite quarterbacks. He beat Patrick Mahomes twice. That in itself should earn him an award.
NFL Top 100: Ja’Marr Chase, No. 24
"Needless to say, Chase was awarded with a Pro Bowl nod and AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors at season’s end. What else could you do when he’s playing at the level of some of the best veterans in his first year as a pro?"
So… that Penei Sewell debate has been dead in buried. Chase seared his name in Bengals history books as one of the most productive rookie wideouts of all time and could already be considered one of the franchise’s best draft picks (second only to his former LSU teammate). We can list the records, but you probably already know them by heart: most Bengals’ receiving yards in a game (266), most Bengals’ receiving yards in a season (1,455), most receiving yards by a rookie in an NFL game, in the postseason, and the list goes on and on. This kid is going places.
NFL Top 100: Joe Mixon, No. 38
"Mixon makes his first appearance on the Top 100 list as the leading rusher on a Bengals team that made the Super Bowl, and as one of the top running backs in the league as a whole in 2021. Mixon had 1,205 rushing yards (his third 1,000+ yard season), and had more than twice the number of rushing attempts of the rest of the Bengals combined."
While everyone was paying attention to Cincy’s lethal passing attack, Joe Mixon quietly recorded a career-best campaign in 2021. The running back finished in the top five in several categories including rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and first downs. Mixon proved he could catch, too, with a career-high 314 receiving yards, not to mention that touchdown PASS in the Super Bowl (What!). He may not be everybody’s favorite cup of Joe, but he’s an integral part of this Bengals squad, no doubt.
NFL Top 100: Trey Hendrickson, No. 78
"If Joe Burrow is the heartbeat of the Bengals offense, then Hendrickson is the steady pulse on the opposite side."
Who could forget about Trey Hendrickson, the relatively lesser-known Bengals player on this list who nonetheless needs no introduction. The Saints aren’t happy about losing this one.
Signed as a free agent in 2021, Hendrickson made a meteor-sized impact in the Bengals’ pass-rush, notching a team-high 14 sacks in the regular season and another 3.5 sacks in the postseason. His recent comments on the Deshaun Watson situation should make Bengals fans smile, as should his wholly efficient and terror-inducing play on the field. Somehow, Hendrickson dropped five spots from last year (oh, the fickleness of NFL lists) but he’s still No. 1 in our hearts. Please don’t ever leave.
Overall, a solid haul. What do you think? Are there any surprise Bengals exclusions from the NFL Top 100 list?