Stock Up, Stock Down for Key Cincinnati Bengals Heading into Camp
Sometimes, a player's stock can look much like a roller coaster—a constant up-and-down change.
Then, there are guys whose stock is sky-high for a long time and suddenly plummets—see Shaun Alexander if you need an example.
Naturally, no matter how many patterns we've seen in players over the year, we love to speculate how everyone's stock is at the beginning of the season. Essentially, bad seasons reduce the stock, and good seasons improve it.
That all cleared up, let's take a look at whose stock is changing in Cincinnati.
Stock Up: Andy Dalton and AJ Green
Let's just get the obvious out of the way early.
As rookies in 2011, both Andy Dalton and A.J. Green proved just how good they can be—particularly together. Given how well both of them performed, it's no secret that their stock is way up.
Green's is going to be higher than Dalton's. It's likely that Green is considered a top-10 receiver (or, he should be), but Dalton isn't quite a top-10 quarterback yet.
Still, both stocks are way way up.
Stock Down: Leon Hall, CB
This one was more than difficult to think about, but yes, Leon Hall's stock is down in 2012.
This is not to say that I think he'll perform in underwhelming fashion this season, but it's simply common sense—Hall is a cornerback coming off a serious Achilles injury. A secondary defender's stock is always going to plummet after a leg injury since they have to use and rely on them so much.
Hall has been a force in the league since his debut in 2007, piling up 20 picks and 290 tackles in five seasons. Before being injured in 2011, he had a couple interceptions and just over 30 tackles, which put him on pace to top his 2010 numbers.
It'll be a big deal in Cincinnati to see the quick Hall to return to the field, but it doesn't change the fact that teams are quite going to look at him the same.
Stock Up: Geno Atkins, DT
John Grieshop/Getty Images
After a dominating 2011 performance, Geno Atkins earned himself a trip to the Pro Bowl (no matter how much of a joke that has turned into).
He led the team with eight sacks and accumulated 48 tackles. Atkins proved to be one of the more agile lineman on the team, as he showed a great ability to get into the backfield.
He was coming off a lowly rookie season, one in which he didn't see a lot of playing time, so his stock has shot up for the coming season. You can bet that when teams face the fierce Cincy defense, one of the first guys they'll be watching is Atkins.
Stock Down: Carlos Dunlap, DE
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
It should be no secret to anyone that has read my stuff before that I'm a big Carlos Dunlap fan. He struggled with injuries in 2011, and just like Leon Hall, that is why his stock is down.
Plus—and it is worth noting—even when he did play, he just didn't look quite like the same guy from 2010. That was his rookie season, one that saw him gather 9.5 sacks—compare that to 4.5 last year.
Certainly, Dunlap has shown that he can get the job done, but to struggle with injuries for much of the season is not a good sign. For now, his stock is going to be lower than what it should be.
When I write this article before the 2013 season, he'll be on the "stock up" side of things.
Stock Up: Reggie Nelson, S
John Grieshop/Getty Images
I'm not particularly impressed by Reggie Nelson's abilities in coverage, but it doesn't change the fact that he had a career year in 2011. Let's examine that—in four previous seasons (three with Jacksonville, one in Cincinnati), he averaged 60.25 tackles, a quarter of a sack and 2.25 interceptions.
In 2011, Nelson had a very good 85 tackles, two sacks, and four interceptions. I guess it was time for him to bust out of his shell.
I hope that Nelson can continue to make his stock rise, because his partner in coverage, Taylor Mays, isn't going to get the job done. It'll take a lot of work from him in 2012, but Reggie Nelson is on the rise.
Stock Down: Robert Geathers, DE
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images
With only 29 tackles in 2011, Robert Geathers had one of his worst seasons of his career. It may be because of age and the abuse he's taken in eight seasons, but at only 29, I just can't buy into that.
Following a tremendous 2006 season, Geathers got a massive extension and is slated to make over $4 million this season. He's not worth the money.
Year after year, his numbers have proceeded to get lower and lower, so his stock is likely nearing the bottom by this point. It's likely, at this point, that he won't be seeing nearly the amount of playing time that he has in recent seasons.
Stock Up: Jermaine Gresham, TE
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Jermaine Gresham had a decent rookie campaign in 2010, but he vastly improved in 2011—and that came in one less game.
It's true that Gresham has shown early signs of being a bit of injury risk (though not a huge one to this point), but he did have six touchdowns in 2011, a pretty good number for a tight end. Not to mention, he was competing for attention with A.J. Green.
Branching off from that statement, it seemed that Gresham was Andy Dalton's second favorite target in 2011, which continues to mark up his stock. He's due to break into the top 10 (maybe top five?) ranks of tight ends in the NFL.
Stock Down: Adam 'Pacman' Jones, CB
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
It seems that whatever hope was left for Pacman Jones may have gone out the window—which is a shame because I was really hoping he could clean up his act with a fresh start in Cincinnati.
Since joining the Bengals, Jones has been injured constantly and really hasn't been on the field that much. When he was, it was ugly.
He was constantly burned in coverage, couldn't keep track of anyone and isn't all that great at tackling. These are all things you need to be good at to be a cornerback.
While he is still on the squad, it doesn't seem that Jones is going to see the same amount of opportunity anymore, given the recent additions of Terrance Newman and Dre Kirkpatrick.
What a waste of talent.