This post is part of a continuing series in which we break down 13 2011 NFL Draft prospects - our Baker's Dozen - that should interest the Buffalo Bills. Previous physical scouting reports: WR Julio Jones, DT Nick Fairley, DT Marcell Dareus, DE Da'Quan Bowers, DE Cameron Jordan.
Many Bills fans have painted GM Buddy Nix as the type of personnel man that emphasizes "best player available," particularly at the top of the draft, using 2010 first-round pick C.J. Spiller as an example. Personally, I believe that, at its most optimistic, that's a premature assumption. If, however, those fans are theorizing correctly, then Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green might sit atop the Bills' draft board come April 28.
(We know. He probably doesn't. But when your team is 4-12, hasn't made the playoffs in 11 years, and routinely has one of the league's worst offenses, no stone should be left unturned - even if playoff contenders aren't typically built around receivers.)
After the jump, we break down the junior wideout. This is a truly excellent football player, friends.
Defining Trait: Length. It's difficult to pinpoint one area that makes Green exceptional, because he's so strong in so many areas. He's a great receiver, a fluid athlete and a smart player. What sets him apart is that he packages all of that talent into a long, lanky frame that makes him an extraordinarily difficult matchup for any defensive back he's lined up against. His frame creates windows whether he's against smaller, quicker corners or the bigger guys that don't run as smoothly as Green does. He really will be a matchup nightmare in the NFL, just as he's been in high school and college.
Receiving Skills. Very sure-handed; catches everything thrown his way. Makes difficult catches look routine thanks to great body control, exceptional ability to track and adjust to the ball in the air, and a willingness to put his body on the line to make a play. Only drops came from an occasional (rare) lack of focus. Catches the ball at its highest point, and fights for the football whenever it's near him. Has excellent skills after making the catch, displaying niftiness and a strong stiff arm in the open field, along with great field vision. Inconsistent route-runner; looks brilliant at times, and too reliant on his overwhelming talent in others. Will round off routes, but has great quickness and can stop on a dime. Great feel for finding the soft spot in zone coverages.
College Production. Extremely consistent production despite a large amount of coaching and quarterback turnover. Was a star receiver immediately, playing with Matthew Stafford in 2008, and continued to produce even after Stafford left and defenses began focusing on him.
A.J. Green: College Statistics
|A.J. Green Totals||32||166||2,619||15.8||23|
Athletic Traits. Very fluid athlete that's light on his feet. Did we mention that his body control is exceptional? Tall with long arms; does not have huge hands, but they are strong and quick. Arms and hands make him difficult to press, even though he lacks great functional strength. Loose hips allow him to change directions with ease. Quick off the line and gets to top speed quickly. More than sufficient long speed. Aforementioned length of strength make him a below average run blocker, though he's willing in this department. A good leaper, but his average vertical jump number at the Combine surprised a few people.
A.J. Green - 2011 Combine Results
Injury Issues. Played with a minor shoulder injury in 2009; it won't be a problem long-term.