Last weekend, Oklahoma State cornerback A.J. Green had the chance to showcase his skills in front of several coaches and executives at the NFL Combine. Although he had an impressive performance overall, he’s looking to leave an even better impression at his pro day.
Green won the Vernon Grant Award in 2019 for outstanding leadership, spirit and enthusiasm. He was also voted as a team captain by his teammates, which speaks volumes about his character.
The Big 12 is known for having explosive offenses, but Green held his own against elite wideouts like CeeDee Lamb. This past season, he finished with 49 tackles and an interception.
We sat down with Green to discuss his experience at the NFL Combine, which cornerbacks he likes to study on film, his biggest inspiration and more. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: How’d you feel about your performance at the NFL Combine?
A.J. Green: Overall, the combine was pretty good. I measured out pretty well and did great on the bench press. The 40-yard dash time is something I’m going to improve on at my pro day. I didn’t run my best time because I was dealing with a little back tightness.
The Spun: Speaking of your 40 time, how do you get coaches to focus more on your skillset and fundamentals than your speed?
AG: When you look at the competition that I faced in the Big 12, you see that I held my own and that I’m a lockdown cornerback for the most part. I’ve been doing this for years. Playing cornerback in the Big 12 is a different type atmosphere because of the Air Raid offense and things like that. If you put on the tape, you’ll see that I’m a shutdown corner.
— Cowboy Football 🇨🇦🤠 (@CowboyFB) March 1, 2020
The Spun: Who’s the best player you faced in the Big 12?
AG: Over the course of my career, I’d have to say Kyler Murray. He was a tough opponent, and we lost to those guys by one point during my junior year. But yeah, he was a really good player.
The Spun: What was the most random question you were asked at the NFL Combine?
AG: Someone asked, “If I were to punch you right now, what would you do?” That kind of caught me off guard, like why are you asking me that? So, I just responded by saying “We’ll just have to see.”
The Spun: Besides improving your time during the 40-yard dash, what else do you want to show scouts at your pro day?
AG: I’m going to do the drills over again for sure. I want them to see that I’m a fluid cornerback that has good hips. I just want to go out there and make a strong impression on them before the NFL Draft.
— Boone Pickens State © (@BP_State) March 1, 2020
The Spun: Which NFL wide receiver are you excited to face next season?
AG: I’d probably have to go with Julio Jones.
The Spun: Is there a cornerback in the NFL you believe your similar to?
AG: I think I’m a mixture of Jalen Ramsey and Darius Slay. I like what Ramsey does, he has a different approach to the game. He’s going to talk, but he’s going to back it up. Slay is an even-keeled player, he just goes out there and locks it down.
The Spun: What goes through your mind when your one-on-one with a wide receiver?
AG: When I’m matched up one-on-one with a wide receiver, it’s simple. I have to dominate. I have to win this rep. If he gets me, I have to respond. If you’re playing cornerback, you have to have a short memory. That’s just what goes through my head. I have to win this rep and take it one play at a time.
The Spun: Who’s been the biggest inspiration for you throughout this entire process?
AG: My biggest inspiration has been my mother. She’s a strong and courageous woman and as she’s always been by my side. I say this because if I didn’t play football, I think she would still love me the same. I know she’ll love me the same and that’s genuine. So, my mother has been an inspiration to me.
Green will try to improve his 40-yard dash time at his pro day. He ran a 4.62 at the NFL Combine.
Despite some scouts’ concerns about his speed, Green is one of the most physical cornerbacks in this year’s draft class. Cornerbacks at his size are needed in the NFL, so the Oklahoma State product should get his chance to shine at the next level.
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