A.J. Green's NFL draft preview

A.J. Green (Draft) graphic

All eyes are on two-time All-Big 12 cornerback A.J. Green and where he ends up in the 2020 NFL draft.

With Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace returning to Stillwater, A.J. Green is likely OSU’s only draft prospect.

Background

A former 3-star recruit out of DeSoto High School from DeSoto, Texas, Green was seldom used as a freshman before breaking out as a sophomore with 47 tackles, five deflected passes and a team-high four interceptions.

Green continued his strong play his next two seasons as he earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a junior and senior. He totaled 99 tackles, two interceptions and 16 deflected passes in those two seasons.

Green was a team captain in 2019 and a key cog for OSU’s underrated secondary, but his production dipped his senior year. Green’s draft stock was a third-round grade to begin 2019, where is it now?

Lance Zierlein, a draft analyst for NFL.com, appreciates Green’s length and size, which helps Green in press coverage, but the lack of speed concerns Zierlein.

Green ran a 4.62 at the 40-yard dash, third slowest time among all cornerbacks at the 2020 NFL combine.

“It’s a concern and it is what you saw on tape as well,” Zierlein said. “That 40 (time) and the tape are the reasons that he’s more likely to be considered primarily by zone teams instead of teams who play man.”

And that’s where Zierlein sees Green’s best fit. Zierlein said Green will need to play in a zone-heavy defense to keep up with the speed of NFL receivers.

Adding to the question of speed is production. Green was targetted just as much as senior as he was previously, but his ball production declined as he went from 11 to five passes deflected in 2019.

“You never want to see a cornerback come into a draft with a down year compared to the previous season,” Zierlein said. “I don’t know if his play was much different, but the ball production was.”

 

Draft projection

When you put it all together, that third-round grade has become a fifth or sixth for most people, but Zierlin said teams will place their own grades.

“I’m guessing with his size and strength, but lack of speed, he goes around the 4th round,” Zierlin said.

 

Other Cowboys in play

Johnny Wilson, OL: Wilson’s durability, toughness and versatility could be appealing to teams. Projection: Undrafted free agent

Marcus Keyes, OL: A four-year starter, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive guard has been drawing interest from multiple teams. Projection: 5th-7th round 

Jordan McCray, WR: While the production and 40-time weren’t what McCray hoped for, his 6-foot-6 frame and ball skills are enticing. Projection: Undrafted free agent

sports.ed@ocolly.com