AFC North Top 25: 10th-ranked player

July, 19, 2012
7/19/12
9:00
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The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 10:

A.J. GREEN

Green
Bengals wide receiver

Why Green is ranked 10th: Green is ready to become the best receiver in the division and one of the top five in the NFL based on a great rookie campaign. The fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft led all NFL rookies with 65 catches for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns. His 11 catches of 35 yards or more were the most in the league and the most by an NFL rookie since Minnesota’s Randy Moss had 14 in 1998. As a result, Green became the first rookie wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl since Anquan Boldin in 2003.

The impressive part of Green's immediate success is he did this with a rookie quarterback and didn't have a full offseason in his first year because of the lockout. Not only did Green participate in spring practices this year, he has been working out with Larry Fitzgerald before training camp. This can only help his progression. Of course, he'll need quarterback Andy Dalton to avoid a sophomore slump to take that next step. If Green follows the path of elite receivers like Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson, he should produce more than 80 receptions for 1,3000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in his second season.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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