COMMENTARY | With the next addition of NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2012 set to air Thursday night, there is a good chance that Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green will hear his name called.
Last year, Green was the only Bengal to make the list -- he was 77 overall. This year, he figures to enter the top 15. This jump in position on the popular show has sparked a debate over the best players at the wide receiver position in today's NFL.
A handful of names can be argued for the top spot -- mainly Green, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Larry Fitzgerald -- most fans would argue that more names should be in the mix. But does Green already top these other All-Pro receivers?
It is very difficult to judge these players based on their statistics. They all play is vastly different offenses with different supporting casts. One perfect example was that of Fitzgerald's 2012 season -- he never had an adequate-enough quarterback to get him the football.
However, there is one thing that already stands out between Green and the rest of these players -- Green is by far the youngest and has yet to reach his ceiling.
"I'll say top 15 and he's still growing. A.J. is doing a tremendous job of leading by example and just going out there and practicing hard. There's not a day where he doesn't run his routes at full speed."
The thing that makes Green so unique is that he has been able to put up extraordinary numbers in what has been a run-first offense with limited weapons surrounding him. In fact, he was able to string together nine-consecutive games in which he scored a touchdown last season -- a Bengals' record.
Touchdowns are not the only factor to Green's success in the NFL. His willingness to be a complete player is what makes him stand out. Aside from his points scored and his highlight-reel catches, Green is also one of the better blocking receivers in the league according to Pro Football Focus.
In the Bengals offense, bubble screens are used frequently -- Green is generally the lead blocker in these formations. In 2012, Green never received a negative grade in this category from Pro Football Focus.
Another thing about Green that makes him worthy of such a title is his ability to remain humble. He was asked recently if he thought we was one of the best in the league (via ESPN.com).
"Not yet. I still got a long way to go to be mentioned with all of the greats. The biggest thing is me staying consistent."
Green had a similar reaction when asked about where he may land on the Top 100 countdown (via Bengals.com).
"It's an honor just to be on there because the players vote. It's all about respect."
Green backs up this statement with his work ethic. He is constantly the first wide receiver lined up for drills during the Bengals' practices. He is a model player that continues to lead by example.
If Green will not make an argument for himself, the media must do so for him.
Compared to the other top receivers in the game, Green has surpassed some of them in certain areas already.
Green has been to the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons in the league -- it took Calvin Johnson four years to earn his first trip. Green also has 162 receptions through his first two years -- that's more than Larry Fitzgerald in his early years.
With that being said, receivers like Johnson and Fitzgerald are spectacular in their own right. They have earned the top spots in the league. However, these receivers have already reached their ceiling at the position.
Green is just beginning to scratch the surface.
So, is Green the best wide receiver in the NFL? Well, that will be an ongoing debate. However, if he isn't already, he certainly could be in the very near future.
Sean O'Donnell is a contributor for Yahoo! Sports and a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the co-host of the Bengals Central podcast on the Pro Football Central radio network. You can follow him on Twitter: @SeanODonnellNFL
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