If there's any position in NFL history that's flooded with talent, it has to be the wide receiver position. The simple fact that Cris Carter and Tim Brown aren't yet in the Hall of Fame lends to this fact. There are only so many spots available and receivers seem to get left out.
However, a young player with possibly the most realistic potential to end up in Canton is the Bengals' A.J. Green. Green has 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs this year. In his two-year career, Green has accumulated 162 catches for 2,407 yards and 18 TDs.
Green's 162 catches ranks second in NFL history for most receptions in the first two seasons, behind Marques Colston with 168.
The Elias Sports Bureau has confirmed that Green is the only player in NFL history to accumulate 100 receptions, 1500 yards and 10 TD in his first 20 games. Those aren't the only outstanding statistics that Green has reached in his young career.
This season, Green had a stretch of nine straight games in which he caught a touchdown. This streak was the longest in Bengals history for touchdowns in a single season. Carl Pickens had a streak of 10 games with a touchdown reception, however his streak spanned from the last five games of the '94 season to the first five games of the '95 season.
Green's nine-game streak is tied for third longest in NFL history with Lance Alworth's performance in 1963. Since 1964 only two players have recorded a nine-game single season TD streak. Green in 2012 and Jerry Rice in 1987.
Green's numbers dropped off towards the end of the season where he pulled in 21 catches for 243 yards and 1 TD in his last 4 games. This was partially due to the burgeoning run game as well as the fact that Green hardly played last week against the Ravens.
Despite a lessened role in the latter quarter of the season, Green still earned a starting spot in the 2013 Pro Bowl. This will mark Green's second trip to Hawaii following the season. He attended following the 2011 season but didn't start.
Green just needs the ball. When he has been targeted nine or more times this year, there has only been two games in which he didn't have 100 yards receiving or a touchdown.
It's still too early to tell whether or not Green will one day wear the gold jacket, but he's certainly on pace to contend.
With other emerging receivers like Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones also showing promise early in their careers, along with the surplus of eligible receivers on ballots like Cris Carter and Tim Brown, and other not-yet-eligible receivers like Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss, it will certainly be a while before Green can realistically consider his Hall of Fame chances.
Until then, I look forward to watching him build his resumé.
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