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.