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Green, Jones Vye To be Draft's Top Receiver

Editor's note: Leading up to the NFL Draft,'s Larry Weisman profiles some of the Redskins' potential draft targets in the first round and beyond. Up next: wide receiver A.J. Green:

A.J. Green can enumerate the reasons that he sees success ahead in the NFL.

Many of those reasons are people.

The NFL draft's top-rated receiver on most boards, Green played at the University of Georgia. He caught passes from Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. He learned from other capable receivers, such as Mohammed Massaqoi, now of the Cleveland Browns, and Mike Moore of the Lions.

He stays in touch with them, works out with them, measures himself against them and the competition, including Alabama receiver Julio Jones.

"We're working out at the same place in Phoenix:" Green said of Jones, his competition to be first off the board when the draft commences April 28. "We're friends. He's a great guy."

Though he's giving up his final year of eligibility for the draft, Green said he's prepared.

"Running a pro style offense, had a chance to work with Stafford," he said. "He taught me a lot of stuff and just helped me take my game to the next level."

Green's college career was shortened a bit by injuries and a four-game suspension last season for selling a jersey. As a junior he still managed to catch a team-high 57 passes for 848 yards and nine touchdowns. The suspension still leaves a sting.

"Growing up, I didn't have any adversity like that," he said. "That really humbled me and tightened my circle down to the people I need to be around."

He's 6-4, 211 pounds, well-regarded for the way his runs his routes and gets in and out of cuts. Scouts like his hands and his ability to run after the catch.

Whether he's the first receiver off the board, he said, counts for little.

"It doesn't matter. I don't worry about any of that. I'm going to do my part and try to be the best," he said.

So if Jones hears his name called first?

"Me and Julio are just alike. We don't get caught up in the hype," Jones said. "We're just two guys trying to be the best. I think I'm the best. I'm going to do whatever I can to be the No. 1 receiver and I feel like Julio's going to do his best. [I'm] not going to be mad if I'm not the top receiver drafted. It's not going to mess with our friendship. Whatever happens, happens."

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at and follow him on

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