By Josh Kirkendall
Gil Brandt, a senior analyst with NFL.com, is prepping midseason
grades and lists, exploring players playing at the top of their
respective positions as we reach Week Eight of the 2012 regular
season. The first set hits the trenches, otherwise known as the purest
form of football.
Ranking the top-five defensive linemen, Brandt ranks Bengals defensive
tackle Geno Atkins at No. 4.
Atkins underachieved somewhat at Georgia, but those days are behind
him. Very powerful and quick, Atkins has seven sacks in seven games
this season after totaling 7.5 in a breakout 2011 campaign.
Among the top-five defensive linemen he lists, Atkins is the only
defensive tackle, grouped with players like Houston's J.J. Watt, New
York's Jason Pierre-Paul, Dallas's DeMarcus Ware and Minnesota's Jared
As we pointed out in our Five By Five earlier this morning, Atkins is
dominating the league compared to other defensive tackles according to
Pro Football Focus.
Atkins was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft; the same
draft that No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh entered the league. And
while Suh has received the endorsements and attention, largely for
non-football related reasons, Atkins keeps plugging away as one of the
league's best defensive tackles.