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Jerry Rice picks A.J. Green over Julio Jones

JerryRiceGetty Getty Images

As the draft quickly approaches, two receivers are expected to go in round one — possibly in the first 10 picks.  Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, a first-round wideout 26 years ago, recently offered his take on the question of whether Georgia’s A.J. Green or Alabama’s Julio Jones will be the better player at the next level.

“I would have to say A.J. Green because the guy, he makes plays,” Rice told Andrew Bogusch and Steve Philips of SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  “He makes plays and he doesn’t drop the ball as much and that’s part of Jones, what he’s going to have to work on, Julio Jones, he’s going to have to work on catching the football.

“So maybe right now he’s that young pup right now but once you get to that level, that next level, teams are not going to afford to let you drop footballs.  That was something that Bill Walsh would always preach, ‘If you drop footballs you’re not going to be with the San Francisco 49ers.’  So he’s very talented but I think that phase of the game he’s going to have to work on.  But Green right now, he gets the thumbs up right here.”

Most folks have Green rated ahead of Jones.  I still have trouble getting past the fact that Jones ran a 4.37 with a broken bone in his foot.  Sure, the Underwear Olympics have little relevance to football, but for wideouts a guy’s straight-line speed has a lot more relevance than it does for any other position on the field

Then again, there’s no guarantee that either Green or Jones will be nearly as good as Rice was.  Indeed, even though Rice was the 16th pick in 1985, he was the third receiver whose named was called — behind Al Toon and Eddie Brown.

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28 Responses to “Jerry Rice picks A.J. Green over Julio Jones”
  1. mrizzo44 says: Apr 22, 2011 12:53 PM

    Jones is a beast. I think he’ll be better than Green in the pro’s. He’ll be a young QB’s best friend.

  2. thephantomstranger says: Apr 22, 2011 1:03 PM

    Jones sounds like the next Troy Williamson.

  3. mightymightylafootball says: Apr 22, 2011 1:04 PM

    “…there’s IS a guarantee that either Green or Jones will be nearly as good as Rice was.”

    There, fixed that for ya!

  4. mightymightylafootball says: Apr 22, 2011 1:06 PM

    *neither, not *either (you knew what I meant…)

  5. ttommytom says: Apr 22, 2011 1:07 PM

    The first time I saw AJ Green play, he was obviously the best player on the field. Much like the first time I saw Percy Harvin play. Then the second time and the third time. I never saw that from Julio Jones.

    Now I understand that Jones was not featured nearly as much as Green or even Harvin was. But I know what I saw.

    Both players are special and I hope they both become all pros. But Green just seems like a truly special talent.

    Jerry Rice and Art Monk are both HOF players, which one would you rather have based on what you saw on the field?

  6. bigbrad184 says: Apr 22, 2011 1:09 PM

    Jerry Rice was not just the best wide receiver ever, but the best player ever. There are a few other players that you could make a decent argument for, but the stats, championships and longevity are all big positives for Rice’s candidacy as the Greatest of All-Time.

  7. 11inthebox says: Apr 22, 2011 1:11 PM

    That was something that Bill Walsh would always preach, ‘If you drop footballs you’re not going to be with the San Francisco 49ers.’

    Bill Walsh was smart. And Rice was the exception to that rule. He dropped a lot of balls those first few years.

  8. skummyone says: Apr 22, 2011 1:22 PM

    Minor quibble, but straight line speed matters more for CB’s than WR’s.

  9. Kave Krew says: Apr 22, 2011 1:25 PM

    Jerry Rice has, so far, demonstrated a straight shooting style when it comes to football matters – Cam Newton / Warren Moon issue, the draft…….

    The 49ers should hire him for the front office……he’d make a great representative for them and brings smarts and experience with him.

  10. santolonius says: Apr 22, 2011 1:27 PM

    “there’s no guarantee that either Green or Jones will be nearly as good as Rice was” (probably a safe bet, yes)

  11. facebook.com/joesimmonscomic AKA Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: Apr 22, 2011 1:32 PM

    @11inthebox: Really, only his rookie year. He had the yips for about half the season when he worked it all out.

  12. lbcoach34 says: Apr 22, 2011 1:34 PM

    Regarding straight line speed:

    How many times do you run a 9 route in the game? If it’s more often and not a route to really get you the football – you’re a run-off and/or decoy.

    In addition there are bracket coverages and off man schemes to nullify the speed – as well as getting to the QB to cut that time down.

    Combine 40 yard dash is over-rated for WRs – more important for RBs and DBs

  13. kingdm8 says: Apr 22, 2011 1:57 PM

    I saw AJ Green take my Sun Devils to the woodshed his freshman season. The guy is flat out unbelievable. I think he will be the real deal in the pros. Julio Jones reminds me too much of Darius Heyward-Bey.

  14. nowathand twitter.com/Chris_M_Bach says: Apr 22, 2011 2:30 PM

    Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu (in that order, by the way) have eliminated the appeal of straight line speed in wide receivers. It’s first one to the ball.

  15. realfootballfan says: Apr 22, 2011 2:33 PM

    Too bad theyd idn’t go to that scout with the quote of the year, “It’s hard for dumb receivers,” lol.

    I think Jones will surprise alot of people because he didn’t exactly play within a great passing offense where he’d be featured in college.

    He was a blue chip recruit who sacrificed having great numbers to be part of winning a championship, which has to count for something. He’s an excellent blocker, but his speed was what blew me away at the combine.

    I knew he was fast, but he ran in the 4.3 range with a broken bone in his foot. Wow!!!

    I think whoever drafts him will be getting a steal. Also, since Rice had the drops early in his career, he should know that can be overcome.

  16. We'reFineThere says: Apr 22, 2011 2:41 PM

    You guys comparing Jones to Heyward-Bey and Troy Williamson are out of your minds. Jones was already considered the 2nd best WR in the draft before the Combine and has been a force in college football since his freshman year. It was obvious 3 years ago Jones and Green would eventually go 1 and 2. Those other 2 guys were nobodies until the Combine. Didnt DHB get shut out on receptions ‘in a game his final year at Maryland?

  17. whatswiththehate says: Apr 22, 2011 2:41 PM

    Kave Krew says:
    Apr 22, 2011 1:25 PM
    Jerry Rice has, so far, demonstrated a straight shooting style when it comes to football matters – Cam Newton / Warren Moon issue, the draft…….

    The 49ers should hire him for the front office……he’d make a great representative for them and brings smarts and experience with him.
    ————————-
    Stop being so foolish…Jerry Rice never said Moon was wrong for what he said.

    Once again, looking for any black person to come along and pacify your oversize egos hen you know your wrong..

  18. 202folife says: Apr 22, 2011 3:10 PM

    Just because Rice was arguably the greatest WR to play doesn’t mean his opinion should matter when determining who’s more talented. Just ask Michael Jordan. Rice needs to STFU!

  19. thefiesty1 says: Apr 22, 2011 3:34 PM

    Good choice. C’mon Cleveland get AJ quick. Give Colt a great target.

  20. 11inthebox says: Apr 22, 2011 3:40 PM

    @whatswiththehate, who says:

    Stop being so foolish…Jerry Rice never said Moon was wrong for what he said.

    Once again, looking for any black person to come along and pacify your oversize egos hen you know your wrong..
    ——————————————–

    Careful there. Youre dealing with a crowd that can REALLY dish it out. But even the lightest shot at them will make them hysterical.

  21. 49ersforever says: Apr 22, 2011 4:45 PM

    I’m always happy to hear Jerry’s opinion on football matters but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out A.J. Green is better than Julio Jones.

  22. scoob766 says: Apr 22, 2011 4:53 PM

    God I miss when my Niners when relevant.

  23. goldrush36 says: Apr 22, 2011 5:26 PM

    whatswiththehate says: Apr 22, 2011 2:41 PM

    Stop being so foolish…Jerry Rice never said Moon was wrong for what he said.

    Once again, looking for any black person to come along and pacify your oversize egos hen you know your wrong.

    ___________________________________

    Who’s the foolish one who can’t interpret simple English here? Jerry said it’s not a racial issue with Cam, people have questions with his accuracy. That is a very polite way of telling Warren Moon he is WRONG!

  24. Kave Krew says: Apr 22, 2011 7:16 PM

    11inthebox says:
    Apr 22, 2011 3:40 PM
    @whatswiththehate, who says:

    Stop being so foolish…Jerry Rice never said Moon was wrong for what he said.

    Once again, looking for any black person to come along and pacify your oversize egos hen you know your wrong..
    ——————————————–

    Careful there. Youre dealing with a crowd that can REALLY dish it out. But even the lightest shot at them will make them hysterical.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Mr 11,
    I would like to point out that it is you who gets hysterical over these matters – i can always count on you to come out and play at the littlest self perceived slight……

    Mr Whatswiththehate,
    Where in my statement did i say Jerry Rice claimed Warren Moon was wrong? – i think that’s something you may have read in Jerry’s statement and you want to transfer that thought to others. Also, where in my statement did i say anything towards race?

    I said, Jerry is a straight shooter – doesn’t get wild and crazy, nor insulting, isn’t looking for a fight, or crowing about how great he was and probably is still better than most of these guys……no, he sticks to the facts in a straight forward way…..

    I think he’d make a good front office guy is all i said…

  25. romoscollarbone says: Apr 22, 2011 7:16 PM

    There are so many bones in the foot. The fact that he was able to run a good 40, doesn’t blow me away. Even if it was barely tolerable pain, it only lasted for 4.37 seconds.

  26. 11inthebox says: Apr 22, 2011 8:26 PM

    @Kave Krew :

    I’ll end this by taking it to the appropriate level:
    “I’m rubber and you’re glue…”

  27. Kave Krew says: Apr 22, 2011 9:12 PM

    very appropriate….nice job….look forward to seeing you at the next intersection……..

  28. mkdave23 says: Apr 23, 2011 2:44 PM

    “Minor quibble, but straight line speed matters more for CB’s than WR’s.”

    I’d disagree. Backpedal speed and change of direction ability are far, far more important for a corner than straight line speed. They may not be superstars, but there are guys that make a living at receiver because they can run fast in a straight line. You can’t say the same of CBs.

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