football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

3 Best Geno Atkins Free Agent Landing Spots

  • The Draft Network
  • May 28, 2021
  • Share

Now is an exciting time for those who work in the NFL. It's the start of minicamp, where most of the players return to get in reps prior to breaking for summer before returning to work in July for training camp. As a scout, this was arguably the best part of the offseason. You get to go out to practice and for the first time watch the team hit the field and see all of the free agents and draft picks that you worked so hard to evaluate in action. It’s a time of optimism and excitement for the upcoming season, but that does not mean that the evaluation process has stopped.

After each practice, the scouting staff would circle up and watch film and evaluate how the guys are moving around and we would have conversations about if we did enough to address certain position groups or if we need to add players prior to camp. If so, we would turn to our veteran free agent board and determine which players made the most sense. 

At this point in the offseason, there are still a handful of older veteran players still looking for work. This is usually because teams wanted to see how the draft shook out before committing additional dollars to an older player, but this could also be because the player wants to take their time to find the right fit. This offseason especially there are a ton of talented veteran players who are still looking for a home.

One player specifically that I expect will find work soon is former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. After 11 seasons with the Bengals, Atkins was released this offseason and will now look elsewhere to continue what is one of the most underrated careers in NFL history. While not as flashy as Aaron Donald or J.J. Watt, Atkins was one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen over the last decade and was an absolute force to be reckoned with due to his freakish strength and explosion. Atkins finished his career as a Bengal with 75.5 sacks and made eight Pro Bowls. His 75.5 sacks rank sixth all-time for defensive tackles behind only John Randle, Warren Sapp, Steve McMichael, Aaron Donald, and La'Roi Glover. 

At 33, Atkins certainly isn’t the player he once was, but as we saw with Ndamukong Suh last year, a veteran defensive tackle can make a big impact in the right situation. Atkins only played in eight games last year due to a shoulder injury that ended up requiring surgery so, from a pure condition standpoint, Atkins’ legs should be relatively fresh. Here are three teams I believe make the most sense for Atkins to land with. 

Minnesota Vikings

This match makes a ton of sense for a variety of reasons, with the obvious being the fact that Atkins will get to reunite with coach Mike Zimmer who oversaw some of Atkins' best seasons as a Bengal. Atkins would be able to slide into a rotation that consists of newly acquired Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce, who is rejoining the football team after opting out. I love the idea of adding Atkins here to be an interior disrupter and creating even more opportunities for star edge rusher Danielle Hunter. From a stylistic fit, Atkins' skill set meshes well with Tomlinson and Pierce and Atkins can certainly bolster this interior defensive line. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

This fit is interesting because I do think Atkins should and most likely will sign with a contender—and no offense to Jaguars fans, but that’s not this team. That being said, Atkins could have a huge impact by joining the Jaguars and being that veteran presence along the interior of this defensive line. Former first-round pick Taven Bryan has struggled to live up to his draft position and has really failed to find his way as a run defender. While Atkins was an outstanding rusher during his career, he was equally as impactful in the run game and he can go a long way shoring up a run defense that ranked near the bottom of the league. For first-year head coach Urban Meyer, adding high character guys whose resumes demand respect could make a lot of sense. 

Seattle Seahawks

In this situation, Atkins will have an opportunity to sign with a contender as he looks to win a Super Bowl ring before he hangs up the cleats. Seattle currently has a need for more interior pass rush as the team’s current starters, Poona Ford and Al Woods, are both just above average at their respective positions. Atkins can come in and have an opportunity to truly contribute as this defense looks to hold up its end of the bargain for this football team. Another touchpoint here is that the Seahawks traded for fellow former Bengals Carlos Dunlap, so the team clearly isn’t afraid of taking chances at aging veterans who have some good football still ahead of them.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network