Incoming NFL Draft pick and former University of Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green tests with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) in New York City. Green’s testing was captured by NFL Films for the new web series “Everything To Prove,” which follows 14 rookies’ journey to the NFL.
Most NFL Draft analysts have A.J. Green rated pretty highly in this year's rookie class—and most of the sports media has been itching to get a word in with him.
According to those in the know, Green is projected to come off the draft board fairly quickly Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Bleacher Report's Jack Harver, in town to re-test with the scientists from the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and top-tier trainer Todd Durkin, ran into A.J. after the former Georgia standout had finished filming an interview for NFL Films' Everything to Prove documentary.
Hanging out in the Gatorade Lounge before running the testing gauntlet, Jack took a few moments to see what this year's consensus top wideout had been working on with Gatorade this offseason.
Jack Harver: Did you have a favorite part of Gatorade's tests?
A.J. Green: (Laughs.) My favorite part had to be the resting [metabolic rate test]. I wish they'd put you in there after the bike.
Jack: Yeah, the Wingate test is rough. How'd you like that?
A.J.: The first time [during Super Bowl week] it got to me. But this second time, I was mentally prepared for it.
Jack: I hear you. I'm hoping to do a little better, myself, knowing what I'm in for.
For the record, Jack cranked out 1300 watts of power in the Wingate test—a 300-watt improvement over his performance back in February. (Credit goes to Todd Durkin, whose concept of "grand finale conditioning had Jack finishing workouts with sprints...and more sprints.)
Of course, most of Gatorade's rookies were hitting closer to 2,000 watts, meaning A.J. had much more reason to feel exhausted after giving the max-resistance bike his best shot.
Whether having a hard plastic hood over one's face gathering vapors for 10 minutes is "resting" or not is a matter of perspective, it seems.
Jack: Is sports science and nutrition something you were into back at Georgia?
A.J.: (Laughs.) Not really. As a college student, you know, you're eating McDonald's and Ramen Noodles. But after getting into API [Athletes' Performance Institute], I really started watching what I eat and where I go to eat.
Jack: So API and Gatorade are steering you right. Have you felt an effect on your performance from that?
A.J.: Yeah, definitely. I feel more energized. I can go at it for a longer time period.
Must be nice, fueling touchdowns with Big Macs. All the collegiate "fast food diet" got Jack in his years at Virginia was 240 pounds of un-athletic mass—not two All-SEC First Team awards and the attention of NFL scouts and general managers.
Weighing in at a relatively lean 180 pounds in New York, Jack's on the right track. But it's almost scary to think how much better A.J. Green can be in the NFL, now that Gatorade and his team will be fueling him for success.
Jack: You're already considered one of this year's top prospects, but clearly you're still putting in work with Gatorade and API. Football-wise, is there anything you've been working on specifically?
A.J.: Just running routes and going hard in the weight room, staying healthy and maintaining my strength.
Jack: Routes? They already say you're one of the smoothest in that respect, but that's good. Perfectionist stuff.
Routes. CBS Sports' scouting report on A.J. Green calls his route-running "an underrated element of his game and a reason why Green appears better suited than most rookies to make an immediate impact in the NFL." But he's still working to make that part of his skill set even better.
The Gatorade Lab's tests put number values on top-tier athletes' reflexes, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and body composition to show where there's a bit of room for improvement, and Todd Durkin preaches the importance of putting a "perfect 10" level of work in to get "perfect 10" results out—"10 in, 10 out."
Considering the first thing that came to his mind, A.J. gets it. For the best pros, their "best" is never good enough to stop getting better.
Jack: Last question—is there a corner you're looking forward to going up against in the NFL?
A.J.: Oh, it doesn't matter. They're all great. I want to see how I measure up against all of them.
Jack: Hopefully we'll get to watch you go up against them this fall. Best of luck tomorrow.
So much for giving bulletin board material to Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, or maybe Cleveland's Eric Wright and Joe Haden if Mel Kiper and Todd McShay's Green-to-Cincinnati projection comes true.
As A.J. Green's journey from college to the NFL Draft to his first season continues, he seems to understand that he still has plenty to prove at the professional level. Getting drafted early will only be the beginning.