The question was raised on our message boards – why is A.J. Green considered a better prospect than Julio Jones?
Both were elite recruits, both excelled immediately in the SEC and both are considered top-tier NFL prospects. So why is Green the consensus top receiver?
In my opinion the biggest difference is their consistency. Jones is talented, but he was taken out of a number of games. In the 2009 SEC Championship Game and the National Championship Game – while matched up against Joe Haden and Aaron Williams – Jones caught a combined total of just three passes for 51 yards.
Green, on the other hand, maintained his consistency throughout his career despite playing in a shaky era of Bulldog football. Each of his seasons at Georgia featured a different starting quarterback, but Green’s production never wavered.
Green's hands set him apart for all other receivers in this year's draft class
Another significant factor is Green’s ability to stretch the field. He has elite size, speed, hands and leaping ability which makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Leaving a cornerback in man coverage with Green is asking for trouble.
Jones, however, doesn’t pose the same threat. He’s a reliable route runner with great size, but he lacks the extra gear necessary to be a serious threat down the field. Additionally, his hands are somewhat inconsistent, especially compared to Green.
And finally, Jones comes with a lot of wear and tear, while Green has remained relatively healthy throughout his career. Jones is tough, and played through most of his injuries (such as a broken hand this past season) but it’s hard to overlook the fact that he continues to get banged up. You have to wonder, can he stay on the field for 16 (or 18) games?
I don’t mean this to sound like a Julio Jones bashing session, because I do think he is a legitimate 1st-round talent (currently 12th on my big board). Comparing Jones to Green is like comparing Hakeem Nicks to Calvin Johnson. You’d gladly take Nicks, a legitimate No. 1 receiver, but you’d prefer Johnson, the elite All-Pro talent.
Both should go on to successful careers, but given the choice between the two it’s an easy decision to go with Green.