Georgia super-junior wide receiver A.J. Green seems to be on a collision course with the NFL.
And with only two weeks left until the NFL regular season comes to a close, it’s almost time for the fun to begin, breaking down the 2011 NFL Draft. Should Green declare for this year’s draft, he will hands down be the best offensive skill position player in the entire draft and assured of a top-15 selection, should he pass all his pre-draft physicals.
The following is a preliminary scouting report of Green. It breaks down his pros and cons and gives a conclusion at the end.
This is the third in a series of prospect breakdowns that I will release leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, the second being Stephen Paea.
Pros: At 6’4” and 200-plus pounds, A.J. Green has prototypical size for an NFL wide receiver. Green is almost impossible to cover one-on-one as his short-area burst, height and leaping ability are simply too much for one defensive back to handle.
Green might not have the elite top-end speed many are expecting him to have (4.3); it is clearly more than functional, as I believe it to be in the 4.4-4.5 range.
What makes Green such a special athlete is his agility. Even Randy Moss does not possess the short area agility that Green has.
Simply put: Green’s agility is comparable to that of Santa Moss’s—only Moss is five inches shorter.
He shows exceptional ability at finding soft spots in zone coverage due to his underrated instincts and NFL intelligence. When teams try to man up on Green, he is impossible to cover one-on-one. Green’s impressive frame, leaping ability, aggressiveness and mid-air acrobatics allow him to come down with jump balls.
If Green looks like a basketball player, it is because he is; Green was a one-time high school state champion before he went to Georgia.
Green’s extreme athleticism, instincts and hands makes him perhaps college football’s most natural catcher of difficult passes since Calvin Johnson.
Green has spider-man-long arms and legs that give him an almost springy bounce to his run and seemingly endless reach. The junior wide out also has big, soft hands and is capable of making catches in stride and over his shoulder.
Because of Green’s size and agility, he is almost impossible to jam at the wide of scrimmage. Green also has great pro-style experience in terms of coaching, scheme and quarterback play.
Cons: The junior receiver is thin and his body might not ever end up adding all that much more weight; considering his durability issues in college, teams will have to take into account that Green might get hurt in the pros.
A lot of people believe Green to be a true burner, but I don’t see elite 4.3 speed watching him on tape. I think there might be an almost Joe Haden-like reaction at the upcoming NFL combine when Green posts a 4.5 or high 4.4.
Green was suspended for several games his junior season for selling a game worn jersey to a registered NFL agent.
Also, due to Green’s lithe frame, he hasn’t been much of a threat for yards after contact. Not only does Green lack the strength and bulk to break tackles, he often doesn’t try, instead choosing to slide to the turf or dart for the sideline.
Right now, Green is more of a dancer than a bully with the ball in his hands.
Conclusion: Green was far and away the most impressive wide receiver in college football and the most impressive wide receiver prospect for the 2011 NFL Draft, should he decide to declare.
Despite the fact that Green has durability concerns, is probably not as fast as people think and got suspended for improper contact with an agent, Green should still be a lock for the top-15 of the first round.
And even if there is a Joe Haden-like reaction from the media should Green's 40 time fail to impress, I doubt that, like Haden, it will have any impact on his draft status.
No player in the NFL currently combines the level of Green’s height and agility, which I think will make Green impossible to defend one-on-one. His cuts are so sudden, few cornerbacks will be able to keep up with him on his routes; his size is so extreme, even when he is covered he can still box out for the ball.
As such he has the potential to develop into a scheme-busting No. 1 wide receiver and if his physical checks out fine, his risks should not prevent him from going perhaps as high as the top five of the 2011 NFL draft.