For the past four seasons, an SEC team has won the BCS National Championship. This arguably makes the SEC the best conference in the country. With it being the best conference, that must mean it has some of the best players.
Two of the best wide receivers in the country both belong to the SEC—one to the east and one to the west. These players were the most highly recruited coming out of high school, and they both wear the No. 8. Their names are Julio Jones and A.J. Green.
In the two seasons they have played, they have both put up some pretty impressive numbers, but which one is better? Each is better than one another in the different skills that are required when playing wide receiver. So let's break down each of those skills and see who is the best.
Pass Blocking: Julio Jones
Pass blocking is one of the most important parts of playing wide receiver.
Last season Greg McElroy started as a college quarterback for the first time. When you have a new quarterback, coaches tend to run the ball more, especially if you have two running backs named Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
Jones is one of the best when it comes down to blocking because of his elusiveness and strength. It is also a good thing because if you're a smart coach, you know to double cover Jones. When there are extra men on one side of the field, that leaves holes on the other side of the field. Whether you're a linebacker, safety, or cornerback, you do not want to be near Jones when he is about to crack down on you.
Speed: A.J. Green
Being big and strong is one good thing about being a wide receiver, but if you are too big and too strong, you tend to slow down a bit. Jones may be able to block and catch, but when it comes to speed, the winner is A.J. Green.
Even if Green is being double-covered the whole game, he has the speed and quickness to get away from coverage and make big plays and gain big yards.
Best Hands: Tie
I guess it is safe to say both Jones and Green had sophomore slumps. As a freshman, Green had 56 receptions for 963 yards, as a sophomore, he had 47 receptions for 751 yards. As a freshman Jones had 58 receptions for 924 yards, as a sophomore, he had 42 receptions for 573 yards.
If you read the stats carefully, you can tell that neither one of these guys drops passes that often. That why it's best to call it a tie on best hands.
Biggest Playmaker: A.J. Green
Green is one of the most elusive, most powerful players I have ever witnessed. He not only has the better stats, but he is so good at getting the ball and making the big play. Even if he is being covered well by two guys, there is a chance the ball is still going to be thrown to him. Green gains yards and scores touchdowns and rarely drops the ball.
Best Player for Clutch Situations: Julio Jones
It was hard to decide a winner for each category, but this one was probably the easiest. Jones first stepped up in a clutch situation in 2008.
It was double overtime in Tiger Stadium, when John Parker Wilson connected to Jones down at the two yard line. It would have been the five yard line, but Jones was able to drag a defender a few more yards. The play led to a quarterback sneak for a touchdown, clinching the win.
A year later, Jones juked his way out of defenders on a 73-yard touchdown run that would be the deciding factor of the game. A few weeks later Jones did not show he was even in the Iron Bowl, until the fourth quarter when it mattered most. Sometimes it does not seem like he plays the whole game, until the time comes for him to step up.
Most ready for the NFL: Julio Jones
The NFL is a completely different type of football from college. In today's NFL, scouts are looking for bigger, more powerful football players. They are not as interested in speedy receivers that are better built for a spread offense. Jones is the exact kind of receiver NFL scouts are looking for, and no matter who comes out with the better stats, Julio Jones will be the most NFL ready.