Cincinnati Bengals: Is AJ Green the Best WR in the NFL Today?

Andrew Dunn@atdu222Correspondent IIOctober 25, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14:  Wide receiver A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass in front of defensive back Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

If there is any doubt left in the minds of anyone just how good A.J. Green is, they are in dire need of a wake-up call.

With all due respect to Andy Dalton, this is not one of those situations where the quarterback is making the receiver look good—it may not even be the other way around, but if it's either of the two, it's certainly the latter. Green is one of the youngest receivers in the game and has quickly become one of the most dominant.

Green is third in the NFL in receiving yards, behind only Wes Welker (duh) and Reggie Wayne. One of those guys has Tom Brady throwing to him, and the other has one of the most highly-touted college players of the past ten years.

Meanwhile, Green's seven touchdowns in 2012 is tied for the league lead (James Jones, Victor Cruz). Keep in mind, Green had seven scores in all of 2011.

His contribution as a Cincinnati Bengal has been remarkable already—through 22 games played, he's caught 109 passes for just under 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns. The man has even been able to do this amidst double coverage and playing against stellar NFL defenses, namely, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens.

With all of the elite receivers in the league—Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz—where does Green stack up in the grand scheme of it all? Is it fair to say he's the best receiver in the entire league?

Not yet. Not yet.

I have every belief that he will be soon. Welker will not be back in New England next year, and Tom Brady has made that man, so that eliminates one guy. Fitzgerald has been on the decline since losing Kurt Warner

That leaves us with Green, MegaTron and Cruz. Some will argue that MegaTron is out of the running because of his slow year, but he can't help that Matt Stafford suddenly lost the ability to throw a good ball. Johnson ranks up there just as he proved he should last season. 

Cruz is a special case just like Green—he's a second-year player in his own right, but he outplayed Green last season, accumulating almost 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns. Easy to do with a Manning at the helm.

In the end, of the entire bunch, there's no doubt that when you think about overall speed and explosiveness, Green is the very best. However, that is not going to make him the best receiver in the game...yet.

Cruz and MegaTron both have resumes that stack up moreso than Green's. Ask this question again at the end of the season, and it's very possible that the answer will turn into a "yes."