Why Undrafted?: A.J. Green

Why Undrafted?: A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Six years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Four years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Cornerbacks who have a good size are typically safe to get drafted. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound Green played well enough during his career at Oklahoma State to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl. While he did not impress there or at the NFL Scouting Combine, some expected Green to get selected on the final day of the 2020 NFL Draft, but he went unselected.

Team sources say Green did not grade out as draft-able by enough teams to be chosen. While Green is a big corner, evaluators felt that Green is very tight and can be beaten downfield. They felt that was given proof at the Senior Bowl and believe he could struggle to run with NFL receivers. The combine reinforced that when he ran the 40-yard dash in a slow 4.62 seconds. Thus, many had Green as a free agent.

After going undrafted, Green signed with the Cleveland Browns, which was an okay landing spot. On the plus side, the Browns need some cornerback depth behind their top trio of Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson. However, the Browns have a lot of corners on their roster, so Green will have to beat out some more experienced young veterans to get one of the final two cornerback roster spots. More likely, Green needs to impress enough to earn a place on the practice squad. From there, he could move up to the roster later on as a rookie, or in year two. It will be important for him to get on the practice squad and show improvement in his ability to run with receivers and prevent them from getting separation. Green will be in store for a tough fight to make the roster in Cleveland.

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