A.J. Green ranked No. 4 in draft (and Bama’s loaded again)

Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is projected the No. 4 player in the next NFL draft, according to Mel Kiper. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is projected the No. 4 player in the next NFL draft, according to Mel Kiper. (Bob Andres/AJC)

Good morning. Sorry, no cake blogs are on the horizon, but I’ll let you know.

I’ve made it pretty clear in the past that trying to grade NFL drafts immediately after the fact is a useless exercise, akin to reviewing a restaurant based on what’s on the menu.

So this might seem like a bit of a contradiction. But here goes: Some of the “expert” draftniks, including ESPN’s Mel Kiper, actually do a pretty decent job ranking the top players eligible for the next NFL draft. Even some general managers will tell you so.

Where they fail at times is understanding a team’s needs and how a certain player fits into a team’s schemes, based on his strengths and weaknesses. And, of course, there can be a significant difference of opinion on how extreme those strengths and weaknesses are.

For example: Some people ripped the Falcons’ first pick, Sean Weatherspoon, based on the fact that he’s not a classic blitzing outside linebacker that can help their pass rush. Left unsaid is that the Falcons see him as an EVERY-down back who can significantly help their pass coverage against the NFC South’s tight ends and running back, as well as defend the run and, yes, blitz.

With that said, Kiper — who I understand has quite a following — just came out with his first “Big Board” of the top 25 eligible players for the 2011 draft. Kiper pats himself on the back a little before listing the players, and that’s OK:

A little perspective to start. Last year, back before any games in the college season had even been played, my first Big Board came out. Looking back, six of the players in that top 10 actually went in the top 10 of the recent draft. A few guys fell for various reasons. Whether it was Carlos Dunlap’s judgment, a really odd interview process for Dez Bryant, or simply bad tape for Taylor Mays, some guys didn’t remain that high. It happens every year.

OK, here’s what will be of the most most interest to you:

♦ Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is the highest-ranked local player on the board: fourth overall, behind only two quarterbacks, Jake Locker of Washington and Andrew Luck of Stanford, and North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn. Green will only be a junior but most expect him to come out. Kiper’s comment: “The profile of a No. 1 receiver. Great size and speed, instinctive, great hands.”

♦ There are no Georgia Tech players in the top 25, after Derrick Morgan and Demaryius Thomas both made the list last season.

♦ Anybody projecting Alabama to take a significant step back after winning the national championship should think again. Three returning players are among the top 17 on Kiper’s list: Defensive end Marcel Dareus (7), running back Mark Ingram (11), wide receiver Julio Jones (17).

♦ The top 25 list includes seven players from the ACC (below in blue) and six from the SEC (in red).

Here’s the list. Let me know what you think.

1. Jake Locker, QB, Washington.

2. Andrew Luck*, QB, Stanford.

3. Robert Quinn*, DE, North Carolina.

4. A.J. Green*, WR, Georgia.

5. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa.

6. Ryan Mallett*, QB, Arkansas.

7. Marcel Dareus*, DE, Alabama.

8. Anthony Costanzo, DT, Boston College.

9. Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State.

10. Patrick Peterson*, CB, LSU.

11. Mark Ingram, RB*, Alabama.

12. Aaron Williams*, CB, Texas.

13. Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina.

14. Jonathan Baldwin*, WR, Pittsburgh.

15. Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech.

16. Allen Bailey, DE, Miami.

17. Julio Jones*, WR, Alabama.

18. Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina.

19. Michael Floyd*, WR, Notre Dame.

20. Akeem Ayers*, OLB, UCLA.

21. Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia.

22. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC.

23. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska.

24. Gabe Carimi, OT, Washington.

25. Rahim Moore*, S, UCLA.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

Earlier posts:

Cake honoring Bobby Cox has unfortunate misspelling

Taser them all, I say (and I’m not throwing my beer)

143 comments Add your comment

juvenal

May 6th, 2010
9:45 am

juvenal

May 6th, 2010
9:48 am

hence TB picking unc; at least we got something out of our 2 this year…

JMar

May 6th, 2010
9:49 am

A.J. Jones is primed for a good year.

gdawingkalamazoo

May 6th, 2010
9:53 am

Welcome to Detroit AJ. Stafford can help you settle in.

Tucker T

May 6th, 2010
9:55 am

WE WANT CAKE BLOG! WE WANT CAKE BLOG!

Tucker T

May 6th, 2010
9:57 am

3 QB’s in the top 6 seems unlikely to me. 1 or 2 of those will drop just because of team needs.

CovDAWG

May 6th, 2010
9:57 am

uhhh, AJ Jones? Is he some new player that we’ve got? I wonder how he’ll enjoy playing with AJ Green?

Bangkapi Ajarn

May 6th, 2010
9:59 am

Jeff;
Not to be picky, but you might want to review:
“Georgia wide receiver A.J. Jones is the highest-ranked local player on the board:”
A.J.Green?
Would have sent this email, but didn’t see a convenient link, sorry.

Matt

May 6th, 2010
10:04 am

So we’ll have had the #1 and the #15 pick in the 09 draft (also MM was drafted fairly high that year) and the #4 pick in the upcoming draft, all of whom attended school for 1 year together and we accomplished nothing. Great job coaching staff!!!! Can many other teams say that??? I guess if their defense was as $hitty as ours they could. Great job coaches!!!!!!

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 6th, 2010
10:04 am

AJ Green leaves early for the NFL and his stats want be a good as Bey Bey Thomas’ of TECH. What a sad sad statment on Bobo’s caoching and Richt’s player management. AJ in 3 yrs has 3 different QB’s and 2 did or will sux and as a Freshman he didn’t get that much Time with Stafford.

Dr. Sigmund Football

May 6th, 2010
10:05 am

Just as we all knew. Julio Jones is ranked 13 spots below Green. In the preseason, many were referring to Jones as 1A, to Green’s 1B, which was obviously bull. Talent will out and it has.

dawgster

May 6th, 2010
10:06 am

Thats fantastic we have A.J. Green and A.J. Jones…what a talented group or receivers for opposing teams to try and defend next season…

dawgster

May 6th, 2010
10:06 am

dang, had some misspellings also, can happen to anyone…

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 6th, 2010
10:06 am

I hope AJ stays and goes after his Senior Season- will the new NFL rules apply by then? As far as 1st round dract pick $$??

Thomas

May 6th, 2010
10:07 am

Isn’t AJ Jones the cousin of JD Stokley?

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

May 6th, 2010
10:08 am

So read that Tech fans. Now not only can we talk smack to you about the game Nov, 28th 2009, but it looks like now we have…. the upper hand in the draft??

Not a soul cares about Draft Position, but apparently you Nerds did this past draft. So we will be sure and let you hear all about how this one goes when that time comes.

{{{{{30-24}}}}}

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 6th, 2010
10:08 am

at least AJ knows how to catch a ball POAD when the game is on the line

OMG

May 6th, 2010
10:08 am

Green is far too high. He appears gifted in size, speed, etc. but he is not a game changer. Has his leadership or great ability led to wins against LSU or UF? Did we lose to UT and KY…two very average to below average teams…with him on the field? His name seems to disappear from too many games.

That said, he likely is still a top 10 pick simply because the 2011 draft will be very, very weak in receivers. This last year had several but with such a weak class coming up…Green’s stock will be inflated similar to the OLB the Falcons picked this year or many of the DL’s that went this year.

#1 BAMA FAN

May 6th, 2010
10:11 am

Dr. Football….AJ Green is a good athlete and will probably be a good player in the NFL. Julio Jones is a good athlete and has had a few injuries (which he played through) and has not lived up to all of the hype. AJ Green’s numbers are better mostly because he is the DAWGS number one weapon. Another difference is Julio has three Championship rings from last year and a chance to win more this year. RTR

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

May 6th, 2010
10:12 am

How do you avoid being mugged on Tech’s “campus” on a Thursday night??

Attend the football game.

Thirty Points to your Twenty-Four Points

May 6th, 2010
10:13 am

What do Georgia Tech and Marijuana have in common??

They are both frequently SMOKED in bowls.

Delbert D.

May 6th, 2010
10:13 am

Another multiple personality guy?

Dr. Sigmund Football

May 6th, 2010
10:14 am

All I said is Green is the better player. He is, Alabama cache aside. Congratulations on your championships and to all whose teams have won championships. I’m not a UGA guy, or a Bama guy, so really, other than enjoying watching both teams play, don’t care.

Dr. Sigmund Football

May 6th, 2010
10:15 am

Sorry, that’s cachet.

dawgster

May 6th, 2010
10:15 am

OMG, dont think your argument about Green holds any water…to say he is not a game changer, well i would have to disagree, he can only make things happen if the ball is thrown his way…You need to go back and look at what he does not so much getting the ball, but what it does to the defenses and how they cover him…No he can’t do it all by himself thats why there are 11 guys on the field on offense..It takes everyone doing there job and if they do he most definitely is a game changer and has been..You must also remember he was not 100% for a good part of the season…We also hope to have a QB that can get the ball to him more often…

RomeDawg

May 6th, 2010
10:16 am

Pi$$onadawg,

Hooked on phonics can work for you. Too many grammatical and spelling errors to try to list. Georgia Tech must be so proud of you. AJ Green is a stud.

DeepDiver

May 6th, 2010
10:17 am

Let me add to the throng that can’t wait to see this A.J. Jones kid get out on the field. What a complement he will be to our incumbent AJ, Mr. Green. Jones has risen from a virtual unknown to land on Kiper’s big board, all without even stepping out on to the field yet for an official collegiate game.

bryant

May 6th, 2010
10:18 am

Julio is finally healthy no way he lasts till 17.

Tucker T

May 6th, 2010
10:18 am

NFL scouts care less about stats and more about size, speed, etc. How many QB’s have we seen in the past that put up huge numbers and then weren’t even drafted or taken very late in the draft. Colt Brennan anyone? A.J’s stats are going to be of much less importance than how he performs in the combine.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2010
10:27 am

Tucker T — Not until you eat your dinner!

J(Z)

May 6th, 2010
10:27 am

I can’t understand why everyone is so high on Jake Locker, his team won 5 games last year. And how about the track record of non-USC Pac-10 QB’s?

Christian Ponder WILL be in the top 25 of the 2011 draft.

Delbert D.

May 6th, 2010
10:28 am

Stanford QB goes #2 without Toby in his backfield? Hmmm…

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2010
10:28 am

Tucker T — Pretty sure Jake Locker isn’t dropping. He would’ve been one of the top picks this year if he had come out.

Will

May 6th, 2010
10:29 am

A J Jones…….nice one. Just like the top of your head, you have a bunch of “nothingness” between your ears. No one in South GA would have made such a mistake. You are an embarrassment to everyone above Macon.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2010
10:32 am

Fixed — AJ Jones becomes AJ Green again, a relief to his family, friends and fans.

Jeff Schultz

May 6th, 2010
10:34 am

Thirty Points to your … Gotta admit: that Tech/bowls/marijuana line made me laugh.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: A.J. Green ranked No. 4 in draft (and Bama’s loaded again) http://bit.ly/cz3HZ9 [...]

waynester

May 6th, 2010
10:42 am

30 points
That was a good ‘un–really funny–but not as funny as Kiper bragging about his 60% success rate! That amounts to a D-minus or (translated for Mel) a Frowny-Face….

chemdawg

May 6th, 2010
10:44 am

The cake blog was one of your finest, but I think you let the success get to your head. The sure-fire route is to blame it on outsourcing. At least “Jones” isn’t synonymous with some bodily organ.

Stinger

May 6th, 2010
10:50 am

Green has no one to throw to him, just like last year. His numbers will be around 35 receptions for 205 yds. Not NFL numbers.

Oh, where are the dawgs ranked? Didn’t think so.

The 2010 CENSUS

May 6th, 2010
10:56 am

Jeff, trying to screw us up eh? We were driving out to the Green’s house to find Mr. Jones. Evidently they didn’t count AJ Jones. You owe us gas money. Or a beer.

Tech Guy

May 6th, 2010
11:00 am

Gailey’s recruits are gone, and now Tech doesn’t have high NFL draft players. Gailey’s recruiting was improving every year, and he was bringing in NFL type players.

Ron Mexico

May 6th, 2010
11:00 am

Thirty Points to your … Gotta admit: that Tech/bowls/marijuana line made me laugh.

Me too Jeff, that one was pretty good!. UGA has a couple of big ole lineman too that will probably go pretty high, get it, pretty high!

tormentor

May 6th, 2010
11:02 am

Not surprising they put in that picture, it was before the gators laid him out.

dawgdawgdawg

May 6th, 2010
11:02 am

I think AJ & Julio will both have great seasons this year and will both be making a lot of plays at the next level. With Mike Moore already signing with Detroit, Stafford could have 2 former Dawgs at receiver

The most interesting man alive

May 6th, 2010
11:03 am

AJ Jones was the LB that picked of Cox right at the beginning of the 3rd Quarter.

richard cranium

May 6th, 2010
11:05 am

Dawgie fans just LOVE to talk about “the next year”…. every year.

Just wait… UGAg hasn’t done anything since 1980. Before the internet was invented.

Just a side note – Interesting how the ACC had more 1st round NFL picks than the SEC…and GT had 2 in the 1st round.

Oh wait – I forgot… ya’ll run this state… Pffffftttttt…

Tom

May 6th, 2010
11:07 am

Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward is local…just sayin’

The most interesting man alive

May 6th, 2010
11:07 am

richard cranium, lets just see how stupid it is to brag about 2 in the first round and you got your a$$es whipped in your tiny stadium by a team that went to the weed eater bowl. Impressive clowns!!

Gator Girl

May 6th, 2010
11:10 am

So you are saying he is gone after this year? That’s good, the Frosh won’t be getting him the ball much. On another note Mettenberger…Bad Dawg, Woof Woof