Falcons should do everything possible to get A.J. Green

A.J. Green did a lot of this Tuesday at Georgia's Pro Day and showed scouts all they needed to see -- via the internet. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

A.J. Green did a lot of this Tuesday at Georgia's Pro Day, showing scouts all they needed to see, via the internet. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

ATHENS – The greatest highlight reel wide receiver in Georgia history sent three dozen NFL scouts, a dozen assistant coaches and certainly a player agent to the cardiac ward Tuesday when he tripped over a rope on the sideline after running a pass route.

“I’m OK,” A.J. Green said. “I landed on my hands.”

Right. What could possibly go wrong when a receiver trips over a rope and lands on his hands?

Green should have those mitts encased in bubble wrap. If the NFL actually plays next season, those hands will cause hysteria for opposing defensive backs (who won’t have the advantage of a rope). There is every indication that Green will be a top five draft pick, a game-changer, the rare kind of player who years from now will make every other general manager think, “Why didn’t we take him?” or “Why didn’t we trade up to take him?”

The Falcons shouldn’t be one of those teams looking back with regrets. They need to find a way to get A.J. Green.

Yes, the Falcons need help on defense. The Georgia Dome custodial staff is still sweeping up the ashes after what Aaron Rodgers did to the secondary in the playoffs. But this team also needs a significant dose of wow, and Green can provide that.

Adding an explosive weapon on offense jibes with what should be the mandate next season: Go on the attack. Make opponents fear them more. Let quarterback Matt Ryan dictate things. The season didn’t end well for Ryan against Green Bay. But we saw what happened when coach Mike Smith allowed offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey to take the handcuffs off Ryan.

He won the Cincinnati game. He won the Baltimore game. He engineered six late-game comeback victories.

The Falcons’ have struggled the past two seasons when they’ve gone bland and predictable. Green is anything but bland and predictable. Line him up opposite Roddy White, what’s a defense going to do?

It would take a lot for the Falcons to move up from 27th in the draft to get Green: at least this year’s and next year’s first-rounder pick. He’s worth it. There were 48 NFL scouts at Georgia’s Pro Day Tuesday. The only time they looked disappointed was when a bizarre league rule forced them to leave the field when Green ran pass routes.

Green and Kris Durham needed a quarterback to throw to them. But NFL rules stipulate that it had to be a draft-eligible player or someone who lives in the greater Athens area (the rule keeps players from poaching on several Pro Days). The only quarterback available was Justin Roper, who played last season at Montana but still lives in Buford. Given the circumstances, the league agreed to allow Roper to throw only if the scouts left the field. They were given the option to watch Green via an internet feed from Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. But most were upset and left, only a few staying to watch.

Green kind of laughed about it and said, “It doesn’t bother me.” He passed on the other drills, letting his scouting combine numbers stand. He looked confident and said later of his NFL aspirations: “I don’t want to be a regular receiver. I want to be mentioned with the greats.”

It says here he will be.

There was a potential red flag last week when word leaked that he scored only 10 out of a possible 50 on the Wonderlic test. The test results are weighed differently by teams. Some don’t consider it important at all.

Asked about the test score, Green said: “That didn’t bother me. I went through [only] 20 questions — I didn’t finish. I was thinking too much, and time was up at 12 minutes.”

Then came this: “If you come back here and look at my grades, I’m no dummy.”

One NFL scout in attendance agreed. “There are other ways to test IQ while taking the reading element out of it,” said the scout, requesting anonymity. “You can put him on the [white] board and find out how smart he is. But obviously, the kid can play really well. He’ll be fine.”

The numbers: Thirty-two games, 166 catches, 2,619 yards, 23 touchdowns. He’ll be better than fine. The Falcons shouldn’t let him leave the state.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

254 comments Add your comment

Reality

March 23rd, 2011
9:35 am

Can AJ Green cover anyone??? If not the falcons need not waste a draft pick on the wonderlick genius. We need defense!!!! Dumb column Shultz

schmeckdawg

March 23rd, 2011
9:39 am

@yeahsure, I like that thought about getting Kris Durham especially after reading that he ran a 4.43 40 @ Pro Day!

Chris

March 23rd, 2011
9:42 am

Jeff…….If we have learned one thing about Dimitroff and his New England Patriot roots, it is that he builds his team through the draft. I am a DAWG and would love nothing more than to see the Falcons get him but there is NO WAY….I mean NO WAY that Dimitroff is going to trade two years worth of 1st round picks to get a receiver.

Barry

March 23rd, 2011
9:43 am

WE NEED PLEXICO BURRESS!!!!!!!!!! THE UNSTOPPABLE, PLEXICO BURRESS!!!

GO FALCONS!!!!!

SSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from FALCON FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

………………….”ONE HEARTBEAT,BABY!!!!!”…………….

Joe Tess Fish House

March 23rd, 2011
9:48 am

Not joking about Ryan. He trun the ball over 2 many times in critial sitautions. He looked like poo in the palyoff game. I was watchin and think the hole time that we had Vick on this rooster and now he is not hear.

Way to go Mr Blanks.

DawgFan

March 23rd, 2011
9:50 am

Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see AJ in a Falcons jersey, but don’t believe that will happen. That being said Kris Durham is the REAL DEAL and the Falcons should def go after him.

DawginLex

March 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

5150,

I hope you are man enough to show up on these blogs when Stafford has an All Pro year in 2011. He got hurt. He will be lights out before he is through.

Took a UGA QB to finally get your boy Calvin some decent passes to catch and also convince him that Paul Oliver wasn’t playing on the other team to take his head off again like vs UGA.

Josh Smildress

March 23rd, 2011
9:56 am

Bring AJ to the Falcons

dirtybird

March 23rd, 2011
9:58 am

Jeff – trading who, besides Ryan could get you a top five pick?????

No D

March 23rd, 2011
9:59 am

This guy will disappear when he enters the NFL.

isproab

March 23rd, 2011
10:01 am

True Falcon Fan, you are an embarrassment to the Falcons nation. You call Green a thug and outlaw? Green didn’t break any laws. Yes, he sold his jersey and was flagged for an NCAA violation. That does not qualify him as an outlaw or thug. NFL talent evaluators didn’t even drop the guy in ratings because of it, I wonder why? We all know the NCAA makes questionable decisions at time.
I agree with the black and white rule that Green brok, but that does not qualify him as a thug. It was a dumb decision, but I don’t agree with everything the NCAA says because every years we hear and see how stupid some of these rules are. Yes, you need to follow the rules, but you don’t get to be qualified as a thug for an infraction. Just yesterda 790 the zone was talking about how Tennessee’s men’s basketball team had another violation on senior night, they gave out too many tickets. It was also reported that this happens at a lot of programs on senior night but goes unenforced as long as there are not other major infractions going on at an institution. Sounds like selective enforcement to me. Honestly, I can understand why.
Technically, there are guys with speeding tickets that fit the mold of an outlaw more so than Green does. I wonder what your real problem is with the guy, you can’t even find a quote from this guy where he said something that was out of line.

Hmmm?

March 23rd, 2011
10:04 am

Matthew Stafford, Knoshon Merino, Justin Houston and AJ Green; all top NFL picks but no Championships to show for them. Must be Helen Hunt lookalike CMR as their coach.

Hmmm?

March 23rd, 2011
10:05 am

Matt Stafford, Knowshon, Justin Houston and AJ; all 1st round draft choices with no championship. Must be Helen Hunt look alike CMR as their coach.

Hmmm?

March 23rd, 2011
10:06 am

Green not a thug or an outlaw; just stupid as his wonderlick test proves.

WJ

March 23rd, 2011
10:09 am

Hell no to Green !

CJ

March 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

This sounds like an article written as a Georgia fan and not a Falcons fan. I don’t know what it takes to trade up from a 27th pick to a 3rd or 4th pick, but I’m sure it will be something important. We have Roddy White, a legit #1 receiver, and we run the ball 2 out of 3 downs. What are we going to do with another #1 WR that we aren’t already doing?

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
10:12 am

DawginLex I will be happy to give Stifford some respect when he can stay off the IR. Calvin Johnson had some great games after Matt went out. I don’t hate Stifford because he is a dawg, but because he got huge money and has shown no reason to have earned it as of yet.

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
10:19 am

DawginLEX where do you Matt Stafford in these stats since you seem to think a UGA QB did anything to get Calvin Johnson the ball.

PASSING ATT COMP YDS TD
Shaun Hill 416 257 2686 16
Drew Stanton 119 69 780 4
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG TD
Jahvid Best 171 555 3.2 4
Maurice Morris 90 336 3.7 5
RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD
Calvin Johnson 77 1120 14.5 12
Brandon Pettigrew 71 722 10.2 4
Stafford has thrown 19 TDs and 21 Ints
Last year Matt threw 6 TDs and 1 Int
Tell me again how he has done anything good for Calvin Johnson.

Joycee Banicheck

March 23rd, 2011
10:26 am

5150, how do you know he is such a joke? What are you basing this off of other than your hatred of Goergia? He’s a kid, why so negative?

PMC

March 23rd, 2011
10:27 am

Hey Barry. You might be onto something there. Plax would be a good risk worth taking.

Jimmy Crack

March 23rd, 2011
10:32 am

How to acquire A.J.:

If a GM had church bell-sized ones (and no worries of termination), it would take…

2011 #1(27) pick,
2012 #1(at least high 20’s) pick
2013 #1(at least high 20’s) pick

Also include Mike Jenkins and a bottle of salt pills and it’s a deal.

CJ

March 23rd, 2011
10:33 am

DawginLex. Not trying to argue, but Stafford’s only played in 12 games of Calvin’s 60 as a pro. It’s had nothing to do with his success in the pros.

DP

March 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

What a dumb, pandering column. The Falcons can’t generate a pass rush up the middle and consequently the Packers marched up and down the field virtually at will against them in the Georgia Dome, and Schultz wants the Falcons to give up personnel and give up a big contract for a guy who MIGHT be a star receiver in the NFL when they already have one of those? So the Falcons will be paying #1 receiver money to 2 receivers, which limits what they have to spend on the rest of the team. Jerry Jones would probably make a move like that, but the New England Patriots wouldn’t nor will Dimitroff. If the Falcons want to improve their offense, or at least keep it from dropping off, the highest offensive priority in the draft should be picking up a guy in the first (if they fill defensive needs through free agency) or second round who can replace Michael Turner either this season or the next. As we’ve seen with LaDanian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander and others, NFL running backs tend to go down fast and it’s probably about that time for Turner.

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
10:34 am

@Joycee He played in 13 games and has a QB rating of 67.1 Matt is so far a 1st round Bust.

Joycee Banicheck

March 23rd, 2011
10:39 am

And for the record I’m a huge Dawg fan but think the idea of trading up for Green is a stupid suggestion, then again considering the source of this “blog” and it becomes obvious why we are even having this discussion. Schultz has never really been original in his columns so this is at the very least an attempt on his part.

No pass rush= No Super Bowl for Atl

Joycee Banicheck

March 23rd, 2011
10:41 am

I was talking about Green. I wasn’t a huge Stafford fan as he was the biggest Stafford fan out there, not a team leader while wearing the red and black IMO. It was always about being drafted #1 for him…

Jimmy Crack

March 23rd, 2011
10:42 am

TD will always be in the shadow of “The Patriot Way” until he sheds that label with an epic decision.

This is not that epic decision.

Trading up to #13 to get J.J. Watt, that would be epic.

d.carter

March 23rd, 2011
10:44 am

YOU GUYS KILL ME WITH THE LET MATT RYAN RUN THE OFFENSE THING! NOW ITS THE COACHES FAULT THAT WE GOT SMOKED BY GREEN BAY…LMAO YOU SHOULD NICK-NAME HIM MATTY CHOKE BECAUSE HE SIMPLY DOESNT SHOW UP IN BIG GAMES…. HE IS THE FOOTBALL VERSION OF JOE JOHNSON

[...] the offense is need of creating more explosive plays, in his column today, he is directing them to pull out the stops to get Georgia wide receiver A.J. [...]

d.carter

March 23rd, 2011
10:46 am

MULARKY DIDNT THROW THE GAME CHANGING PICK AT THE END OF THE HALF DID HE?

GStateBen

March 23rd, 2011
10:46 am

Thank goodness you and the rest of these dopes are not our GM! AJ Green will take years to develop wasting Matt Ryan’s talent. You have 3 OL who are free agents and you need a pass rusher as Abe enters the last year of his contract. Priorities.

Green’s Wonderlic is just another example of a simplistic Georgia offense recruiting excitement over football players on offense. Caleb King, Washaun Ealey, Green all have had issues picking up the offenses. In the NFL, it’s not just throw it up and catch it.

Green was a very good player at Georgia. He has very high bust potential because he will forced to play right away and will be drafted by a team who is not very good.

Joycee Banicheck

March 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

d.carter, you’re absolutely right. That Thursday night game against Baltimore wasn’t a big game at all…

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
10:48 am

@Joycee I was responding to DawginLex about Stafford not AJ. Stafford has 21 Ints, 5 Fumbles, and 19 TDs. I don’t know what A J will do in the NFL, but I am sure the Falcons don’t need to work to get AJ. He is not worth it to the Falcons. We have many more pressing needs.

d.carter

March 23rd, 2011
10:52 am

Interior pass rush is the falcons biggest need… However i would suggest if Johnathan Baldwin is there we need to take him…

GT

March 23rd, 2011
10:52 am

Winning games has got to enter this equation somewhere. AJ Green did not win games at Georgia. It was not like when Calvin Johnson was at Tech, with 0 support at quarterback (Hell UGA gave Reggie Ball the MVP for Georgia one year he was so bad) and 0 offensive coaching from Patrick Nix , and even then won games for his school and was always on a winning football team. How did the Jones kid from Alabama fall so far off the radar. He was the hottest receive in that class of recruits and still looks like a pro receiver to me and he has won games at Alabama while staying eligible. Makes no sense to me but lets see if I am right. M. Vick looked good at these workouts to, that is what I think you are getting in Green, another Micheal Vick before he got religion.

manncall

March 23rd, 2011
10:54 am

Rich

March 23rd, 2011
10:59 am

As much as I like AJ Green this is a bad decision. Falcons need to draft D-linemen and LBs because our front seven isn’t exactly getting younger.

Old Dawg

March 23rd, 2011
11:02 am

Truer words have never been written. Get him now, keep him a long-long time. Boom-boom against all defenses!

Falcons exec.

March 23rd, 2011
11:06 am

Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag..we plan to go after him

junenal

March 23rd, 2011
11:06 am

what was Calvins wonderlic?

ANTOINEFORD

March 23rd, 2011
11:09 am

Georgia Tech has a better chance of getting Phil Jackson than the Falcons do of getting Green.

UGA Fan

March 23rd, 2011
11:12 am

Enough talk about the Falcons… when are they going to put Auburn on probabtion. I mean I know they cant prove they did anything wrong but they had to have cheated… I mean come on I want a crystal football too

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
11:12 am

Calvin Johnson’s Wonderlick was never leaked. I am sure if it was and it was bad the Dawg Fans would have posted about it. We get very few Wonderlick scores because they are leaked by people in the NFL that shouldn’t be doing it.

The Watergirl

March 23rd, 2011
11:26 am

Falcons need defense Schultz!!!!!!

GT Dude

March 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

Shultz = AJ Green = Rock

As in Dumb as a Rock

GR82BAG8R

March 23rd, 2011
11:34 am

Calvin Johnson’s wonderlic score was 41. The average WR score is 17.

Woody

March 23rd, 2011
11:41 am

Wait a few years and sign the best reciever to ever come out of Georgia….Calvin Johnson

Jimmy Crack

March 23rd, 2011
11:50 am

Roddy White scored a 4 on his Wonderlic test, but that’s just Roddy being Roddy.

Put yourself in A.J.’s shoes…

If someone told you, “You’re going to make $50 Million in the next six months. Here take this test.”
You start to take the test and you start to have to think like you are in a math class, and your alter ego chimes in, “Who cares about this test, in six months you’re gonna have $50 M-I-L-L-I-O-N!”

Are you gonna finish that test?

Plus if someone DOESN’T draft him because of his low score, by default he goes to a better team.

gcs

March 23rd, 2011
11:52 am

Falcons need defense. Did you not watch the Green Bay game???!!!

.

Shug

March 23rd, 2011
11:55 am

AJ Green reminds this talent scout of another fine UGA receiver, Andre Hastings. He doesn’t remind me of Calvin Johnson. That is the final word. Good day.