The second season in the NFL can be a difficult one, but Cincinnati Bengals wide-receiver A.J. Green should be able to overcome that and become an integral part of a developing Bengals offence.
Green is primed to take that next step and join the elite wide receivers in this league especially as his rookie season numbers are better than already elite receivers like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald.
There is no doubt that he is moving forward with his game and he has plenty of desire and dedication - two admirable qualities that will help him go a long way in the league - and he has all of the other attributes that you want in a playmaking wide receiver. He’s quick, aggressive and hard-working.
Green's debut was extremely impressive. 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 made 14 in 1998.
As a result, Green became the first rookie wide receiver to make the Pro Bowl since Anquan Boldin in 2003. If he can follow that up in his second season then that would impressive, although he could quickly find himself a marked man.
Two of the men that Green looks up to - Johnson and Fitzgerald - both had second seasons which produced great numbers. Fitzgerald caught 103 passes for 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Johnson produced 79 receptions for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those are realistic targets for Green in 2012.
Green has already become the clear leader of a wide receiver group that averages 2.2 years of experience and that has been noticed by members of the football betting community and gained him that extra bit of respect.
Although that doesn’t mean that he has stopped his development or learning. The emphasis of this off-season has been to grow as a player. He needs to become more patient with his route running, but that will come in time, and he is also learning all three wide receiver spots (split end, flanker and slot), which will help him elude markers.
A.J. Green has already made a mark in the NFL and we have a feeling he’s going to defy the NFL bets and odds and make an even bigger one in the second year of his career.