In following up with the article yesterday in which SI.com's Andrew Perloff picked QB Blaine Gabbert, today we continue a series of looking at the mock drafts of third parties and see how the guys who have been scouting all year and predicting we pick.
Today we look to respected draft site walterfootball.com who updated their mock draft yesterday with the Panthers selecting WR AJ Green from Georgia. We've talked about Green a lot as we've looked forward to the NFL draft, but after the jump we'll take a look at his stats from the last season and get a brief rundown on what Walter thinks about Green to the Panthers, as well as two alternate #1 picks he gives us.
Lofty comparisons to Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson are already being drawn for the 6'4", 205 lb junior. While on paper it looks like Green never really grew as a player, keep in mind that he only played in eight games this year and nine game his sophomore year. This means that on a per game basis he's improved his receiving yards to 106 yards a game this year, up from 89.7 his sophomore season and 74 yards per game his freshman year.
As we talk about players obviously character issues play a role, and while AJ Green's offense was small in the scheme of things, it must be mentioned. The reason Green missed four games this season was due to a NCAA four game suspension for selling his Independence Bowl jersey to former UNC DB Chris Hawkins. Hawkins was labeled by the NCAA as an agent, or someone who 'markets professional athletes'. Like I said, this is hardly a huge offense, but it should be noted.
Green, in my opinion, is the best available talent. He is the next of the elite receivers in the mold of Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Steve Smith is a rapidly declining player, so it's not like the Panthers don't need a wideout. Green is my early favorite to go No. 1 overall, though Fairley has made things a lot more interesting.
On the topic of Nick Fairley, who undoubtedly we'll talk about soon, Walter has both Fairley and Da'Quan Bowers as alternate possibilities for the #1 overall pick:
Nick Fairley, DT - The Panthers' pass rush stinks and there's a huge hole at defensive tackle. Fairley was unblockable in the Co-National Championship.
Da'Quan Bowers, DE - Carolina needs to improve its pass rush. Maybe they'll look past the bad tape and prior inconsistency, and instead see Bowers as the next Julius Peppers.
The combine means everything to wide receivers as their 40, shuttle and cone times are watched like hawks. While the QBs are being tested on their intangibles, the WRs are being tested 100% on their tangibles; the numbers they put up. A forty time two-tenths of a second slower than expected can destroy a players stock, meanwhile a good time drastically raises other's.
Time will tell how all this plays out.