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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Houston's stock up, Green's down .. and three Bulldog first-rounders?

It's kind of tired and rote to pick on NFL teams for over-rating combine results and forgetting how prospects actually performed while playing football. Yes, tired and rote.

Feel free to do it anyway.

When the NFL scouting combine began last week, the consensus was that A.J. Green was going to be the top receiver taken, and had a chance to be the top pick overall. Then Green had a combine that was widely regarded as "eh" while Alabama's Julio Jones wowed everyone.

Jones ran a 4.39 in the 40 and had the best broad jump (11 feet, 3 inches) among receivers. Green ran a 4.48, and had a solid vertical jump, only to be bested in that category too by Jones. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good breakdown of how each receiver did, including catching drills.

That led analysts Wes Bunting of National Football Post to tweet that "I still think #Georgia WR AJ Green is the best wide out in the draft, but I do think Julio Jones ends up going before him now."

Then, as it turned out, Jones may have performed while having a foot fracture. Who knows what that does to his draft stock.

It doesn't look like Green cost himself much money at the combine. It just seems he has competition now to be the top receiver taken. Green and Jones have been linked together since the moment each signed with SEC schools: Same class, same position, same build, etc. And it looks like they'll continue to be linked through the draft, and perhaps longer.

Meanwhile, it seems at least two other Bulldogs helped themselves a lot in Indianapolis:

Justin Houston measured in at 6-3 and 270 pounds, then was timed at 4.68. That time was termed "sensational" for someone his size.

ESPN reported that Houston "exceeded expectations and improved his chances of coming off the board in the first round."

The New England Patriots, who play a 3-4 and need an outside linebacker, could be a candidate to pick Houston, according to the Boston Herald.

So Houston now looks very likely to join Green as a first-round pick. But there might be another: Clint Boling had a good combine too, and scouts like his versatility.

Pro Football Weekly, in a sort of throwaway line, states that "WR A.J. Green, OG Clint Boling and OLB Justin Houston all should go in the first round of the draft, and ILB Akeem Dent is a likely mid-round pick."

That story, by the way, discusses how all that talent didn't help Georgia do better than 6-7:

"We obviously had a lot of talent on the field, but it was just a combination of things," Boling said. "We just didn't really play up to our potential. A.J. being suspended those first couple of games definitely hurt, and after that we got off to a slow start."

If Boling does in fact join Green and Houston as first-round picks, you'll no doubt hear more talk about Georgia's 2010 season from the draft gurus and talking heads. I'm sure everyone's looking forward to that.


Anonymous said...

When are the rest of you kool aid drinkers gonna get it? A 6 - 7 record and a 10 - 6 loss to Mickey Mouse U is purely coaching folks. Wake the hell up !

Anonymous said...

Couple corrections: Julio Jones ran a 4.39 on his best official 40 time and AJ ran a 4.5. AJ will still go before Julio, though, because AJ catches every pass and Julio drops some easy ones.

PTC DAWG said...

I would take either one on my team.

Anonymous said...

Mike Leach to UGA!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mike leach to uga, you are an idiot

The Rock said...

It amazes Seth that you and others are surprised that AJ ran a high 4.4 or 4.5 flat! That is plenty fast!

Go talk to Jerry Rice and Anquan Boldin about their 4.7 and 4.8 40s. Heck Larry Fitzgerald ran a 4.63 40 at the 2004 combine, and I didn't see any Steelers catching him from behind in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago.

That's what most expected AJ to run going in, so why the shock?!

He plays much faster on the field and film, which is all that matters. How many times did he break into the open and get run down? How many deep balls did he fail to catch over the course of his career b/c of his speed? How many DBs did he fail to beat deep as result of his speed?

Julio performed very well and his measurements are very impressive, BUT the FILM DOES NOT LIE!

AJ has never had a case of the drops like Julio, and his highlight reel from each of his 3 years at UGA speak for themselves, not to mention that he is a more polished route runner and stronger than Julio in spite of being thinner.

Simply put, Julio closed the gap some, which had been very wide, but it is silly to suggest that a 40 time, broad jump, or vertical will vault him over the AJ short of the Raiders being involved! Especially, when AJ was no slouch in those categories compared to everyone else.

Seth Emerson said...

I think a couple of you guys might be mis-reading my comments. (Probably my fault for not being clearer). I'm not saying the combine times and drills SHOULD vault Jones past Green, I'm pointing out that a few scouts are saying they MIGHT.

Frankly I don't think you can go wrong with either Green or Jones. And if anything, I think going by combine stuff, over actual college performance, is silly.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think AJ has dropped a few easy passes in his career. Supposedly, the scouts were not impressed with AJ's body frame and apparent lack of commitment to weight lifing. If you will recall, he was not in shape when he came back at the Colorado game.

Hines Ward has a much more solid body for the NFL and has lasted. We will see how well AJ holds up with the much better talent in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:10
Given AJ's lack of commitment to the weight room explain him besting Julio by a rep on the bench while being 9 lbs lighter.

The Rock said...

Anon - you beat me to it!

He is clearly taking "Wes Bunting's word as gospel." Bunting has been harsh on Green since the weigh-in saying that Julio "clearly looks like a guy who spends a lot of time in the weight room", while AJ "looks like someone who does not."

Yet somehow AJ did more bench reps than him even though he weighs less and his arms look a lot more defined now than they ever did his first two seasons.

UGA69Dawg said...

I don't know but it seems that once again the eye test will have a bearing on the draft status of AJ. I think it comes back to the S&C situation at UGA and yes I know AJ beat him in the reps but in the other events he out performed AJ. Jones just looks like he is big enough to hold up over the long hall AJ just looks skinnier. Wide outs are expected to block and block well and body type matters. Just ask Fred Gibson about blocking, that's what got him out of the pros.

Anonymous said...

Blocking is OVERRATED - ask Randy Moss and T.O....A WRs job is to catch the ball and make plays. Aj is a more than capable and willing blocker...I am really shocked that so many people are getting caught up in the hype of this workout and forgetting and think a 40 time and broad jump are going to push Julio ahead of A.J. and erase 3 years worth of college game film. Not to mention the fact that he is about to have a screw inserted in his foot and not be able to exercise for 8 weeks.

All Julio's workout did was confirm that he is a great athlete, which most people already knew and close the wide gap that AJ had. All of AJ's numbers were equal or better than every other WR at the combine. It's not like he performed poorly or was at the bottom of every category.

Anonymous said...

Seen them both play and they are both really great receivers. However, at this point...AJ is better. We'll see what happens in the long run.

Anonymous said...

I Hope Julio goes ahead of AJ atleast he has a better shot of landing on a better team so his talent is not wasted for the first 5 years of his career. I would love to see the Pats trade up to get AJ and then pick up Houston as well.

Anonymous said...

I have a better chance of becoming queen of England than Jones going before AJ. Both great talents but AJ is far and away the better RECEIVER.

PTC DAWG said...

Here's to the Falcons picking Houston.

A-Phiz said...

Are they drafting players to participate in track meets? If they aren't, then who cares that Julio ran faster and had a better long jump, that doesn't make him a better player. Just type in " AJ green highlights" to youtube and tell me he isn't the best receiver in the draft.

Oh and for the people criticizing his build, Randy Moss is listed at 6'4 210 while AJ is listed at 6'4 211. Moss' build sure didn't hurt him, he is 6th all time in receiving yards and 4th in TD receptions