I am breaking away from the pattern just a little bit with this one. I was tempted to pass on Geno in this series because there just is not a very deep tradition of badass tackles. I couldn’t get to five names (as in previous polls) before I was scratching at the bottom of the barrel.
Really there is only one name worthy of comparison in the middle of the defensive line.
Tim Krumrie was an amazing force in the middle for the Bengals for all of his 12 year career. He racked up 34.5 sacks and recovered 13 fumbles in that time, and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1987 and 1988. Amazingly, he only missed 3 games in his entire career.
Of course, Krumrie’s most memorable moment came in the 1989 Super Bowl when his leg was broken in gut-churning style. True to form, he did not want to be taken to the hospital until the game was over, relenting only when paramedics told him that he was at risk for going into shock. After having a 15″ steel rod put in his leg to repair the damage, he was ready to play at the beginning of the next season and went on to play five seasons after the injury before retiring in 1994.
By comparison, Atkins has already collected 10.5 sacks in just 2 seasons as a Bengal, nearly one-third of Krumrie’s career total. He has proven to be absolute steal in the draft, being taken in the 4th round due to being labeled as “undersized”. He made the Pro Bowl in his second season after Vince Wilfork was withdrawn to participate in the Super Bowl. The first of several selections, I wager.
Like all linemen, there are not a lot of stats to list in comparing the two players. But that doesn’t mean we do not have opinions. Weigh in and tell us who you think Krumrie will remain the best interior defensive lineman in franchise history, or if Atkins will claim the title from the master.