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Draft Profile: A.J. Green

Prior to the release of Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman, wide receiver A.J. Green appeared to be one of the favorites to fall to the Cleveland Browns at No. 6 overall. Green will still be one of the most coveted prospects, but is he still the player Cleveland needs most?

Promoted to front page by Chris P.

A.J. Green - WR - Georgia


2011 Combine Numbers:

Height: 6'3 5/8,   Weight: 211
Arm Length: 34 3/8,   Hand Length: 9 1/4
40 Yard Dash: 4.50,   Broad Jump: 10' 6
Bench Press: 18 reps,   Vertical Leap: 34.5

Interestingly, while some have questioned his strength, out of 46 receivers who
participated in the combine Green came in 11th place in the bench press with 18 reps (225 lbs)
(one better than Julio Jones who is considered one of the more powerful receivers in the class).

 

College Statistics


Receiving Rushing Fumbles
YEAR REC YDS AVG LNG TD ATT YDS AVG LNG TD FUM LST
2008 56 963 17.2 54 8 4 61 15.3 28 0 0 0
2009 53 808 15.2 65 6 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2010 57 848 14.9 50 9 3 44 14.7 40 0 0 0

Strengths

First and foremost, A.J. Green has great hands. He regularly makes spectacular catches that most receivers would struggle to make. Some of the catches he makes are must see highlight reel plays. Have a look at this example.
Green has long arms, big strong hands, outstanding body control, agility and balance and an uncanny ability to maneuver and extend his body and arms when making catches. Simply put, when his hands touch the ball, he does not drop it. If he is in traffic he will still make the catch because he has great concentration and hand/eye coordination, and will fight for the ball and will take the ball away from a defender who is in his face. He is fearless when it comes to contact and despite his lean frame he will take a hit and stubbornly come down with the ball.
He also has a great vertical leap and in a jump ball situation, A.J. Green will win.

Green may not have top flight straight line speed down field, but for his size he has great acceleration and lateral quickness, and he has adequate speed to burst and accelerate downfield and is a consistent vertical threat.
He is a disciplined route runner with excellent footwork and the ability to plant and change direction and shake off defenders. He also has an elusive quick burst off the line of scrimmage and is consistently able to knock away and escape pressing defenders with quick shifts and back steps.


Weaknesses

Green lacks the strength and power of a guy like Julio Jones. With his lean build he isn't always able to run through solid tackles. And while he has good size and can block out defenders, he is not a strong run blocker. Green will need to beef up and add another 5 or 10 lbs to his frame. Also, at times he gets lazy with his route running, sometimes tipping off a defender with stutter steps before he makes a break on his route.

Some might want to mention potential "character issues" due to his suspension after selling a jersey. But that incident was a relatively minor one any way you look at it. And from what I know there's really nothing 'there' when you try to dig up dirt in the "character issue" department. An article pointed out in a recent post from blogger nurse13 gives a pretty good perspective and overview of Green's 'character' and it appears to me when you dig a little deeper his character is actually one of his strong points.




Why The Browns Should Pick Him

The Browns wide receiver corps is inadequate regardless of what style of offense they are going to be running in the future. And given the fact that Pat Shurmur has some version of a "WCO style" offense up his sleeves, it could be argued that the need at WR becomes amplified. In the latter part of the 2010 season the Browns weak passing offense stuck out like a sore thumb once a hole opened up on the right side of our o-line. Teams began to implement a routine simple strategy of stacking the box and were easily able to stifle our run game and intermediate routes, and because we have zero threat at the wideout position our offense was effectively neutralized. We've got to get a guy who can present a serious threat in the passing game and who can stretch the field, and A.J. Green is just what the doctor ordered.

There is agreement among many that the two most pressing needs for the Browns are at WR and in the defensive front seven. But there is extraordinary depth in this draft class at defensive front seven positions, and it is one of the deepest and best classes of defensive ends to come along in many years. The Browns will be able to make improvements on defense with this draft regardless of whether or not they use their 1st round pick to do so. In contrast, there are two outstanding WR prospects in this draft class in A.J. Green and Julio Jones, and after those two there is a significant drop-off. The position of WR is one of the most difficult skill positions in the NFL and next to QB, probably the position where it is most rare to find an elite talent. A.J. Green is probably the most talented WR to come out of college since Calvin Johnson and one of the most NFL ready players in this entire draft class. He will have an immediate positive impact with the Browns offense.


Why The Browns Should Pass On Him

Ironically, one of the arguments I've made for taking Green can also be used against it. There are several guys that will be available in the first round who would add much needed strength to our defense. The Browns should grab one of the great defensive ends in this class or perhaps a guy like Patrick Peterson. Peterson, for example, could arguably turn the Browns into the best lock down secondary / pass defense in the NFL within a year or two. A guy like Bowers, Fairley or Dareus (to name a few) could give us an impact player in our front seven and a huge shot in the arm to our run defense and pass rush capability. We should not pass up the opportunity to add as much strength to our defense as possible with this draft. We'll beef up our o-line with a later round pick or in free agency. With Watson and Robiskie looking good, lets see what we've got with Mitchell at wideout, and/or maybe we could pick up one of several good WRs in the 2nd or 3rd round.

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