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Gene Atkins

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 293 | College: Georgia
 
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Overview

A highly-touted prep prospect who signed with Georgia after being tabbed the 5-A state of Florida Defensive Player of the Year, Atkins appeared to be a bright young star by his sophomore season. Despite only starting seven games in 2007, Atkins was a virtual bowling ball of butcher knives with 41 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Unfortunately, he has been unable to match that production since.

Understandably, much was expected out of Atkins in 2008. While he started all 13 games and posted solid tackle numbers (34), his production behind the line of scrimmage shrunk significantly (7.5 tackles for loss, zero sacks). Rather than pin all of the blame on Atkins, many insiders felt the loss of fellow tackle Jeff Owens to a torn ACL in the first game of the season simply allowed offenses to focus interior blocking schemes on Atkins.

With Owens back on the field in 2009, however, Atkins remained maddeningly inconsistent -- posting intriguing numbers (33 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks) but doing so while only starting three of 13 games because the coaching staff didn't know what kind of effort they'd get out of him.

Atkins may have to be used on a rotational system early in his career -- not just because he tires quickly but to use playing time as a motivator - but his display of exceptional quickness and strength at the Senior Bowl and Combine, however, made scouts wonder if he could be a better NFL player than a collegiate one.

Analysis

Pass rush: Very good initial explosion off the snap. Very good bull rush to push the guard deep into the pocket. Needs to improve his use of hands to disengage from blocks. Relies on his quickness and strength, but too rarely is able to get off blocks once properly engaged. Doesn't make enough plays in the backfield for how consistently he's back there.

Run defense: Initial quickness and explosive pop he hit offensive linemen with can be just as effective against the running game. Recognizes the cut block and sprawls quickly to protect his knees. Good upper-body strength to slip off blocks as the ballcarrier runs past. Lacks sustained quickness to close, however. If he doesn't stop the ballcarrier at the line, Atkins rarely gets him as he shows only marginal effort in pursuit.

Explosion: Fires off the ball, showing very good quickness off the snap. Can split the gap and disrupt the play before it has a chance to get started.

Strength: Good strength to stack and shed. Uses his natural leverage advantage and good lower body strength to anchor.

Tackling: Good strength to slip off blocks for the drag-down tackle as the ballcarrier is slipping by. Marginal flexibility to break down in space and resorts to lunging. Good explosiveness if given a clear lane to generate speed.

Intangibles: Short, stumpy defender with limited room for additional muscle mass. Constantly rotated here and seems to tire easily. Good bloodlines. Father, Gene Atkins, Sr., played 10 years in the NFL as a safety with the New Orleans Saints. Occasionally lined up as a fullback in short-yardage situations. Hasn't proven the work ethic or determination to take advantage of his skill set. Seems to have the tools to be a difference-maker, but needs constant prodding from coaches. Good academics. Graduated from high school a semester early and has earned Honor Roll recognition while at UGA.

NFL Comparison: Anthony McFarland, ex-Tampa Bay/Indianapolis

2009 Season

Named All-SEC Second Team by Associated Press and SEC Coaches and Third Team by Phil Steele … Named team's Most Valuable Defensive Player … Appeared in all 13 games making three starts with 36 tackles including 10.5 for loss and had a team-leading 28 quarterback pressures … Named Indepedence Bowl Defensive Player of the Game after recording three tackles including a sack and blocking a field goal in victory over Texas A&M … Named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after he tied career-high with eight tackles including one for a loss at Vanderbilt … Recorded four tackles in three games including at No. 7 Ga. Tech, vs. Kentucky and vs. Tennessee Tech … Performance against Tennessee Tech included three tackles for loss and a forced fumble earning him CollegeFootballPerformance.com Honorable Mention Defensive Lineman Performer of the Week … Posted three tackles at Tennessee and had two tackles in games against No. 25 Auburn, No. 1 Florida, No. 4 LSU and Arizona State … Named to preseason watch lists for Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Bronko Nagurski Trophy … Earned Herbie Award as #5 ranked "Nowhere to Run: Top Defensive Tackles"..Selected Preseason All-SEC First Team by Phil Steele and All-SEC Second Team by Lindy's, SEC Coaches and SEC Media … Recorded one tackle, for loss, in spring G-Day game … Earned Certificate for Academic Excellence at UGA Academic Round Table … Named to Athletic Director's Honor Roll for summer semester … Recipient of John A. Addison Jr. Family Football Scholarship.

2008 Season

Named to Phil Steele's All-SEC Third Team. Started all 13 games recording 34 tackles and a team-leading 32 quarterback hurries. Earned SEC Academic Honor Roll distinction. Recorded one tackle and two QBH in Capital One Bowl victory over No. 19 Michigan State. Season-high seven tackles including two for loss vs. No. 8 Alabama. Four-tackle performances vs. No. 8 Florida, vs. No. 22 Vanderbilt, vs. Central Michigan and vs. Georgia Southern. Two tackles, two QB hurries, a pass break-up and a fumble recovery at Auburn. Played on offense as a "wham" back at Auburn and vs. No. 18 Ga. Tech. Selected to SEC Coaches' Pre-season All-SEC Second Team. Named to 2008 Outland Trophy and Bronko Nagurski Watch Lists. Tabbed in the preseason as a 3rd team All-American by Athlon and Phil Steele. Selected Preseason All-SEC 1st Team by Athlon, Phil Steele and The Birmingham News and All-SEC 2nd Team by the SEC Coaches and Lindy's. Ranked preseason by Phil Steele as the nation's No. 6 defensive tackle.

2007 Season

Appeared in 13 games making seven starts with 41 tackles including a team-leading 14.5 TFL. All-SEC First-Team selection by Rivals.com. Registered five tackles including three sacks at Georgia Tech. Named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week (11/19) after he recorded five tackles, 1.5 for a loss including a .5 sack vs. No. 22 Kentucky. Had three tackles including a sack vs. No. 18 Auburn. Registered four tackles including a half sack vs. Troy. One sack vs. No. 9 Florida. Led the team with a career-high eight tackles including one for a loss at Vanderbilt. Started and made one tackle at Tennessee. Two tackles vs. Ole Miss. Had two tackles including one for a loss at No. 16 Alabama. Two tackes including one for a loss vs. W. Carolina. Three tackles, all for loss including a sack vs. Oklahoma State. Named Most Improved Defensive Tackle at conclusion of spring drills. Listed as number one DT at conclusion of spring drills.

2006 Season

Appeared in 11 games with nine stops; Had six QB-pressure, 0.5 sacks for -4 yards; Made four tackles and half a sack versus UAB; Named team's Defensive Newcomer of the Year; Enrolled at UGA in January after early graduation from high school.

High School

St. Thomas Aquinas, coached by George Smith; Rivals.com #24 DE in the nation; #36 postseason Top 100 in Florida; Scout.com #41 DE nationwide, Frst-team 5-A All-State; Florida 5-A Defensive Player of the Year; First-team All-County by the Sun-Sentinel and

 
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Latest News
04/26/2010 - A closer look at the Bengals' picks: Round 4/120 -- Geno Atkins, DT, 6-1, 293, Georgia, His last two years at Georgia did not match the production of his sophomore year (when he had 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss), his draft stock started to steadily rise with a good Senior Bowl and combine.

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