Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth were named Associated Press first-team All-Pro on Friday by a national panel of media members.
Atkins, the NFL's co-leader in sacks by an interior lineman with 11, earned his second first-team selection. He was first-team All-Pro in 2012 and second-team All-Pro in 2011. Atkins was selected for his fourth Pro Bowl appearance last month.
In his first season back to form following an injury-marred 2013 and a recovery-focused 2014, Atkins tied the Rams' Aaron Donald and the Panthers' Kawann Short for the sack lead among interior linemen. He has led the league or tied for the lead three times in his six NFL seasons. He led the Bengals with 17 tackles for loss this season and was second with 19 quarterback hits.
Whitworth, who seems to get better with age, earned his first-ever first-team All-Pro selection. He was named second-team last season, the first time he was either first- or second-team by the Associated Press. He was named to his second Pro Bowl in December.
Whitworth, a 10-year veteran working on a one-year contract, was a Pro Football Focus darling before he became an All-Pro. The 34-year-old team captain is a two-time Pro Football Focus All-Pro, the first selection coming in 2010. He's been effective for a while, first at guard, but he's picked up more accolades during the back-half of his career than the front half.
Whitworth's 152 Bengals games and 148 starts (including postseason) are the most on the current roster. In 2009, head coach Marvin Lewis decided to move him to left tackle and saw immediate impact. He started all 16 games, allowing just five sacks while keying a strong running attack. On December 12, 2010, he caught a one-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first TD catch of his career and the first for a Bengals offensive lineman since 1995.
In 2014, Whitworth did not allow a sack and only one hit on quarterback Andy Dalton. He signed a one-year contract extension with Cincinnati on September 26, 2015. The Bengals had drafted a pair of offensive tackles with their first two picks of the 2015 draft five months earlier.
Bengals safety Reggie Nelson was named second-team All-Pro. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in December. Another Bengal who seems to get better the more he plays, Nelson, in his ninth season, was a free-agent find in 2010 and a wise re-signing in 2012. All he's done is come up with 23 interceptions in six Bengals seasons, including a personal-best eight this season, tying Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters for the NFL lead. It's the most picks in the league for a safety.
The Associated Press 2015 NFL All-Pro team selected by a national panel of 50 media members (second-team below):
QB: Cam Newton, Panthers
RB: Adrian Peterson, Vikings; Doug Martin, Buccaneers
FB: Mike Tolbert, Panthers
WR: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Julio Jones, Falcons
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
T: Andrew Whitworth, Bengals; Joe Thomas, Browns
G: David DeCastro, Steelers; Marshal Yanda, Ravens
C: Ryan Kalil, Panthers
DE: J.J. Watt, Texans; Khalil Mack, Raiders
DT: Aaron Donald, Rams; Geno Atkins, Bengals
LB: Thomas Davis, Panthers; Luke Kuechly, Panthers; Khalil Mack, Raiders; Von Miller, Broncos; Navorro Bowman, 49ers
CB: Josh Norman, Panthers; Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
S: Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals; Eric Berry, Chiefs
K: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
P: Johnny Hekker, Rams
KR: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
The Associated Press 2015 NFL All-Pro second team selected by a national panel of 50 media members:
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona
RB: Todd Gurley, St. Louis; Devonta Freeman, Atlanta
FB: Pat DiMarco, Atlanta
TE: Greg Olsen, Carolina
WR: Brandon Marshall, New York Jets; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston, Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
T: Tyron Smith, Dallas; Trent Williams, Washington
G: Josh Sitton, Green Bay; Mike Iupati, Arizona, Zach Martin, Dallas
C: Travis Frederick, Dallas
DE: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets; Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit
DT: Kawann Short, Carolina; Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia
LB: Jamie Collins, New England, Bobby Wagner, Seattle; Derrick Johnson, Kansas City
CB: Richard Sherman, Seattle; Chris Harris Jr., Denver, Marcus Peters, Kansas City
S: Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati; Charles Woodson, Oakland
K: Dan Bailey, Dallas
P: Sam Koch, Baltimore
KR: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota