Geno Atkins is dark horse for player of year

A defensive tackle is being mentioned as a candidate for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and it's not the Ravens' Haloti Ngata.

The Bengals' Geno Atkins has been pegged as a dark horse for that award by our friends at Pro Football Focus. More popular players -- J.J. Watt and Von Miller -- are considered the front-runners but it's an accomplishment for Atkins to get linked to the award.

Here's what Pro Football Focus had to say about Atkins:

It's criminal how underrated Atkins is. He doesn't get the attention of Ndamukong Suh or have the [accolades] Haloti Ngata does, but he makes plays. When he's finished making those plays, he gets up and makes more plays. It's what he does.

Atkins leads all interior linemen in sacks with 9.5, which is also a Bengals record for interior linemen. He ranks sixth on the team with 51 tackles and has forced three fumbles.