Starting off the “Breaking Down” Series let’s take a look at the Bengals 1st round draft pick: Ex-Georgia Bulldog, Wide Receiver A.J. Green. Green came out after his junior year and was regarded as the #1 Wide Receiver of the draft. During the draft process (along with the talking heads of the sports media) Green has drawn great comparisons to other great Wide Receivers. Some of the Receivers included Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson and was said to be “The best Wide Receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson”. There were even some in the media gutsy enough to compare him to the gold standard of receiving: Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
Official Combine Stats:
40 Yrd Dash: 4.48
20 Yrd Dash: 2.53
10 Yrd Dash: 1.55
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 18
Vertical Jump: 34.5″
Broad Jump: 10’06”
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.21
3-Cone Drill: 6.91
After already touching on his career stat’s and his combine data, it’s no secret he’s an elite talent. The more you actually watch on this kid the more you understand what type of talent he is. This “Bengle” may not be a genius, but that’s OK. Many wrote Green down as note only the best Wide Receiver but the best offensive player and in some opinions the best overall player in the 2011 draft class.
The term “one year wonder” can never be placed on A.J. In all 3 of his years at Georgia he had a different QB throwing to him. For those wanting to rush over to Wikipedia to fact check me they were in order: Matt Stafford, Joe Cox & Aaron Murray. Luckily he came into a situation where that coming years’ 1st overall pick would be throwing him the ball. But following that year he went to Senior Joe Cox who never saw an NFL field he didn’t pay a ticket for. And this past season he has Redshirt Freshman Aaron Murray, who has at least some potential to see an NFL field (or sideline). During this time he never had a season with less then 800 yards. In fact his lowest was 808 when he was catching passes from Cox his sophomore year. What this proves is that no matter who was throwing him the ball he was still having significant success catching the ball.
His physical tools are definitely underrated. His hands are no secret and are truly unrivaled in this class. His ability to make even the worst passes catchable is something else wildly known by those who watched him. While Green doesn’t have blazing speed or quickness, game film of him moving with the ball shows a player a lot faster then a 4.5 40. Probably one of the most impressive things is watching him after the catch. One of the tools you will notice is the powerful stiff arm he delivers to Cornerback’s face masks. With such ease he takes a short bubble route, stiff arms that corner then he’s “off to the races”. Another impressive move Green has in his arsenal is the spin move. When watching corners try to wrap up on him, green has this reaction to do a spin move that regularly breaks through would be tacklers. Even without making contact with the defense he can cut through defense with ease, weaving through defenders.
For those of you who haven’t already seen highlights and film on Green I thought I would share his JR year highlight. It gives a great showing of his ability to create after the catch. To make the hard catches look like simple snags. And to bring in passes the no other WR’s in this draft class could.
Green will be wearing #18 this fall and Jerseys are already available to purchase. To those curious why number 18, (besides it was available) the reasoning is that #1 was his High School number and #8 was his number playing for Georgia. Put those together and there’s his pro number. #18 was also worn by ex-Bengal Charlie Joiner from 72-75. It just so happens that Joiner’s career happened to be H.O.F. caliber. The last Bengal to don #18 was Skyler Green in 2007. Let’s hope Green has a career that’s been recognized like Joiner’s. Rather then an NFL career that was so brief in Skyler Green’s.