Position Ranking: #1
Strengths: Has excellent height for the position. Played in a pro-style offense and was asked to run a complete route tree. Has very good hands and consistently snatches the ball in the air; will fight to catch passes at the highest point with defenders around. Not a long strider despite his long and rangy frame; releases off the line very quickly to close the cushion. Does a very good job selling his routes with his footwork and putting the defender where he wants him. Is extremely effective on play-action passes and can blow past cornerbacks who take their eyes off him for a brief second. Fearless and isn’t shy about contact when catching passes in traffic; will expose his body to make the play between the safety and cornerback. Can set a defender up by slowing down his release and then suddenly bursting inside to win leverage.
Shows surprisingly great short area quickness in his cuts for a tall receiver. Very good hand/eye coordination and adjusts quickly to throws low, high, away, and behind him. Runs hard after the catch. Knows when to help his quarterback on breakdowns in the playcall. Competitive and plays harder when challenged. Willing blocker in run support
Needs Improvement: Will get lazy in his route running. He’ll often tip the defender off on his break by chopping his feet before he cuts on his route. Though he plays physical he’s not very strong after the catch and won’t run through solid tackles. Has a very lean build and could use extra weight on his frame; can be re-routed by strong physical press corners. Doesn’t always seperate from quick cornerbacks and often makes plays with a man on his hip. Frequently pushes off on defenders with deeper routes if they stick close to him as he breaks on the ball. Can be thrown around in run support at times. Missed 4 games due to NCAA violations.
Bottom Line: A.J. Green is an impressive talent athletically and moves extremely fluid and quick for his tall frame. He has very good speed and quickness but doesn’t have elite speed in his glide, or at the top of his deeper routes to seperate- ala Randy Moss. Green shows special skills because of his combination of quickness and speed that we don’t see from many taller receivers in the NFL. His short stride allows him to release with a good burst and get quickly into his route; while his lateral agility is also uncommon at 6’4. His hand/eye coordination is also special as Green does a great job judging the football and tracking it on all types of throws, making spectacular shoestring type grabs while also staying in his route.
He has the frame to add 5-10 pounds of clean weight which should not affect his athleticism, and would likely make him an even better player, especially against physical corners. A.J. Green reminds me a lot of a former top five pick Charles Rogers from Michigan State. Unfortunately, Rogers’ career was derailed by severe injuries early, and then later bad choices. If Green can stay healthy and avoid the bad choices, he should become the player Charles Rogers was supposed to be when he was drafted 2nd overall.
Draft Projection: Top ten pick.