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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.


LAZARUS said...

Wow, Green's stock down? From what I read, he was about where everyone expected him. I don't think Julio's stock rising can necessarily mean AJs went down. If you are drafted 4th or 10th, you are still a multi-millionaire.

But, check 20 different draft "experts" you get 20 different evaluations, mocks, etc.

Houston's time is pretty remarkable for 270.

Anonymous said...

I bet Jerry Rice was not much faster than Green if he were at all. No, give me someone who can make the catches every time and runs good routes.

That is more important than break away speed and besides, when did AJ ever get caught from behind?

Anonymous said...

I only team dumb enough to pick Julio over AJ is Oakland.

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