Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of the most underrated players in the league despite going to the Pro Bowl last season. When you ask a fan from outside the division about the best defensive tackles in the NFL, the first name you'll hear is Haloti Ngata. My guess is Casey Hampton and Phillip Taylor will be mentioned next.
But Atkins is getting some well-deserved recognition. He was not just named to Pro Football Focus' top 10 most underrated list. He topped it. It's an Insider piece, so you'll need a subscription to read the entire list. Here's what was said of Atkins:
Not only is he the most productive pass-rusher among defensive tackles but he's also third in run stop percentage (the number of tackles he makes that constitute a loss for the offense on a per-snap basis). Until he's a fixture in the top 20 of the NFL's best players he'll still be underrated.
I'm not sure if the lack of notoriety bothers Atkins, who is a low-key guy in the locker room. He certainly makes enough noise on the field, where he has 14.5 sacks in his past 23 games. Atkins is on pace for the most sacks in a season by a Bengal (Eddie Edwards had 13 in 1983).