Back to the future: Joe Haden vs. A.J. Green

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
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Sometimes looking back at the past can help project the future.

Is that the case for upcoming meetings between Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and new Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green?

[+] EnlargeJoe Haden and A.J. Green
AP Photo/Phil CoaleFormer Florida cornerback Joe Haden, shown intercepting a 2008 pass intended for A.J. Green, will battle the former Georgia receiver twice a season in the AFC North.
These two top-end athletes will take their SEC rivalry to the AFC North in what should be great, one-on-one battles twice a season. Haden was a first-round pick for Cleveland in 2010, while Green was this year's No. 4 overall pick for Cincinnati.

So who has the advantage in this high-profile matchup? Judging by their two games in college, Haden at Florida got the upper hand against Green at Georgia.

  • In 2009, the Gators won a blowout over the Bulldogs, 41-17. Green was a non-factor. Haden held the receiver to just three catches for 50 yards and zero touchdowns. Green's biggest play in the game was a 19-yard reception. But other than that, Green had trouble shaking Haden.
  • In 2008, Florida won another blowout, 49-10. Green had more success this time, with five receptions for 91 yards. Probably worth noting is Green's quarterback that year was Matthew Stafford, who turned out to be the No. 1 overall pick of the Detroit Lions. To Haden's credit, he intercepted Stafford in the game and returned the pick 88 yards.

Considering the possible variations of man and zone coverage, we double-checked the accuracy of these numbers with ESPN.com SEC blogger Chris Low, who says Haden was on Green "for much of the game."

Haden was 2-0 against Green in college and performed well in both meetings. Will Haden continue to have Green's number in the AFC North?

We don't have to wait long to find out. The Browns will host the Bengals in Week 1, where Haden likely will draw the assignment of covering Green in his NFL debut.

Can't wait!

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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