- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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With the NFL draft just weeks away, ESPN.com's AFC North blog is tapping into our college bloggers to get their perspective on prospects they covered on a daily basis.
Each day we will present a different prospect of interest to our division. We start with SEC blogger Chris Low's take on Georgia receiver A.J. Green, who is a strong possibility for the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 4) and Cleveland Browns (No. 6) in the first round.
Chris, you've watched Green closely the last three years. Break down his strengths and weaknesses.
Chris Low: He's one of those guys who's the ultimate red-zone player inside the 20 and 25, because he can go up and get everything. He has unbelievable body control and can make some of the most acrobatic catches you'll ever see. He can twist and turn his body and make adjustments on the ball. He's legitimately 6-foot-4 and has great vertical-leaping ability and great hands. He knows how to use his body and get just enough space to get the football. [Georgia] did that a lot, just throwing it up to him inside the 20. But they probably should have done it more. He's the same way down the field, too, though. A lot of times they would purposely underthrow the ball, because he would come back and the defender had no prayer to jump with A.J. I wouldn't say he has great speed, but you never see anybody running him down on the football field. He has good speed for a receiver, but he doesn't have great speed. He's not afraid to go across the middle and just makes catches that very few people can make. He can adjust in midair, catch it behind his head, on the other shoulder. I've seen him make one-handed catches. He is really good. He's one of the better receivers I've seen in the last 10 years.
That's very high praise. How does Green compare to another top SEC receiver: Alabama's Julio Jones?
Low: Green was probably more consistent than Julio. Julio had some drops. I know Julio checks out a little bit better, because Julio is just an ironman. He hurts his knee, breaks a bone in his hand, hurts his ankle and just keeps playing. I don't think he missed a game this past year and missed one the previous year. But he's had several surgeries, from a sports hernia to his shoulder to a knee. Physically, I will tell you where Julio is better than A.J.: He's better when you throw the ball out there to him and rarely see the first guy make that tackle on Julio. He's definitely better there. A.J. is not bad at it, but Julio is the best in the SEC at that. He's so physically strong and tough. He's got that linebacker mentality and you never see the first guy bring him down hardly ever. They played against some very good corners, and the only one that really did that was Patrick Peterson at LSU and he's the best corner in the draft. But Julio is physically stronger than A.J. Green and probably a little bit faster. He ran faster times. Both of those guys, I'd be shocked if either is around after the 10th pick. Maybe they will be, but they're both really, really good.
If you were an NFL general manager who would you draft first between Green and Jones?
Low: I would probably take A.J. He's shown to be a little bit more complete and a little bit more consistent. I think A.J. will consistently make more plays down the field than Julio. Julio is a guy who will make a bunch of plays, but sometimes he would struggle to get open or they couldn't get him the ball. I think A.J. is a little bit more complete, but it's extremely close.