2011 NFL Draft Rumors: Could Alabama's Julio Jones Be Taken Before A.J. Green?

Alec DoppCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Rumors: Could Alabama's Julio Jones Be Taken Before A.J. Green?

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    Ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 NFL Draft is fast approaching. With some of the most talented prospects on the market this April, teams and fans alike are jumping for joy for numerous reasons.

    Without a consensus No. 1 pick in this year's draft, teams will be forced to look in every corner of the draft for the best possible draft choice to fit their roster.

    But this season, there seems to be no larger dispute than who is the best available wide receiver entering the draft.  Is it the press-favorite A.J. Green?  Or is it Alabama's freakish wide-out Julio Jones?

    Let's take a brief look at which receiver should be taken off the board first.

First, the Basics

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    Before we begin, let's take a quick look at where A.J. Green and Julio Jones fair in a few reputable prospect rankings.

    NFL Draft Scout: Green (7th overall); Jones (10th overall)

    ESPN: Green (4th overall); Jones (12th overall)

    SI.com: Green (1st overall); Jones (17th overall)

    As you can see, there isn't much separation between Green and Jones according to online databases. However, when we breakdown the specific qualities each possess, we'll have a much more clear idea as to where each might fall in the draft.

    Let's get things started!

Physical Attributes

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    A.J. Green: 6'4'', 212 lbs.

    Julio Jones: 6'4'', 220 lbs.

    Although most would find it surprising, Julio Jones actually has a few notable advantages over A.J. Green—as far as physical attributes go.

    Yes, a few pounds here and there could be the difference in breaking free for a touchdown.  However, when you need a receiver to execute patterns over the middle, Jones is a much more solid draft choice.

    If Green manages to bulk up from now to the beginning of the season, he would be the complete package. 

    But for now, both Jones and Green can equally be classified as physical freaks.

    Advantage: Toss up

Speed

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    At the end of the 2010 college football season, A.J. Green was far and away the draft's most potent offensive commodity available for the taking.  However, after his Combine performance, his stock has found itself slipping ever so slightly, mostly due to Julio Jones' impressive workouts at the Combine.

    Jones managed to run the 40-yard dash faster than Green, catapulting his often underrated talents to new levels.

    If speed is what NFL teams are looking for in a wide receiver, then they should look no further than Jones.

    Advantage: Jones

Physicality

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    This week at the NFL Combine, Jones wowed scouts from all over in running a 4.39 40-yard dash on a broken foot.  

    Impressed yet?

    Jones was one of the most successful receivers in college football's premier conference since his sophomore season in 2008, and will make for an enormous contributor for one lucky NFL franchise.  And if size is any indicator of prospering talent, then Jones is truly a physical specimen.

    Yes, Green may possess a bit more raw NFL talent than Jones. However, Green's lack of true bulk and weight compared to his height threaten to shorten his career.

    Advantage: Jones 

Big-Game Experience

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    If a seasoned, veteran-type receiver is what you are looking for, then Jones is your man.

    Playing in two SEC Championship games in his three years as a starter with Alabama, Jones has compiled over 2,600 yards, 15 touchdowns and 179 career receptions.  In his freshman year, Jones also managed 958 solid yards from quarterback Greg McElroy.

    Experience is already instilled into Jones' 6'4'', 220-pound frame, and NFL teams will take notice of that leading up to draft day.  And if there's something to be said about familiarity with the speed and tempo of the NFL, Jones has Green beat by a mile.

    Nevertheless, both possess breathtaking amounts of talent. We'll just have to wait and see how both of their draft's turn out.

    Advantage: Jones

Where Will They Go?

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    Many analysts and writers around the country have projected Green as the best wide-out available leading up to this years' draft, and rightfully so.

    Passing up on a talent like Green could spell disaster for many NFL teams with high draft picks, so it's a safe bet that he'll be taken in the top five.

    But after our comparison, is it possible that Jones could be the better value pick?  With so much uncertainty leading up to draft day, there's almost no clear evidence that either one is a more solid choice than the other.

    But the question still remains: Who will be drafted first?

    For that, we'll just have to wait and see.