Um, who is Alex Green? I have to admit, that was my first reaction to the announcement of the Packers’ third round selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. I hadn’t really paid much attention to running backs in my pre-draft research. I can blame that on the CheeseheadTV Draft guide, which had me spending all of my free time studying offensive tackles and outside linebackers.
I did expect the Packers to take a running back, but not until day three of the draft. So when the Packers selected Green, I raised my eyebrows a bit, read a few scouting reports and was satisfied that it seemed like a decent pick. When the draft concluded, I have to say that there was a lot that I liked about how it had all worked out for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers took three players I was really hoping for (Sherrod, Cobb and Guy), and a few I consider very pleasant surprises (House, Williams, & Elmore).
But what about this Alex Green? Well, since the draft ended, I’ve been quietly compiling information and watching tape. I can now truly say – I like this pick as much as I do those of Sherrod and Cobb.
First, a little background. I’ve been watching football for over 40 years and I’ve always been a bruising running game kind of guy. I’ve always been drawn to teams that could run it down your throat and there was nothing you could do about it. The Packers with Taylor and Hornung. The Dolphins with Csonka, Kiick and Morris. The Steelers with Harris and Bleier. Of course, those were all a long time ago and it’s a different NFL now.
As recently as during the 2010 season, I was still steadfastedly holding to my belief that a championship caliber team needs at least a “consistent” running game. Of course, the Packers went out and proved that to be just a bunch of hooey, and finally broke though that wall of denial I had built around myself. Yes, I am now a believer. Running game, schmunning game – who needs it?
But while the Packers proved to me you don’t “need” it, I don’t think anyone would argue it would be a hell of an additional weapon to have. Well Good Golly Miss Molly, I believe the Packers agree. With their selection of Alex Green, adding to the Ryan Grant – James Starks mix, the Packers are saying to opposing defensive coordinators – good luck game planning us.
But getting back to Alex Green, here are some tidbits from the official NFL scouting report that you may like:
Green is an excellent downhill runner, a pounder who runs with a low pad level and shows good leg drive and short area burst past the line of scrimmage.
There is a lot of Michael Turner in him, as his stamina, thanks to his conditioning, seems to allow him to look stronger deep in games.
The thing that you notice on film is his ability to generate in-stride quickness when adjusting and changing direction. He has that short area burst, along with the ability to take a side to avoid low blocks.
He is a pure power runner with above average downhill ability. He does a good job of lowering his shoulder and driving through initial tackles.
He does a good job of looking the ball in with his hands and can gain yardage after the catch.
As a third down back, he is capable of getting to the flares, arrows and comebacks, as his route regimen is not limited like most college backs.
Green is a good cut blocker and is alert to blitzes and stunts, showing the ability to face up, but he needs to sustain his blocks longer.
Compares to: MICHAEL TURNER-Atlanta…Turner is a few pounds bigger, but both get most of their success pounding the inside rush lanes. Green is an excellent downhill runner with good power and vision. He has become a valuable route runner and has solid ball security skills. Near the goal line, he’s almost a certain six points, scoring 9 –of-18 touchdowns last year near the end zone.
I especially love that last part – Michael Turner? Yeah, we’ll take that.
Based on what I first read of Alex Green (strong runner, good pass catcher, can block…) my initial impression was that this guy is simply Brandon Jackson’s replacement. But then there’s the film. The more you watch, the more you like. On tape, you can’t help but notice his quickness and burst when he has some running room. He’s not going to wow you with fancy moves, but he can make defensive backs miss and does not go down easily. He doesn’t hesitate behind the line of scrimmage and makes good lane decisions (can he spell ZBS?). And as advertised, he can push the pile when he needs to.
Certainly, the level of competition will be just a little bit tougher in the NFL. But based on everything I’ve seen, I believe Green can be a feature back in this league, not just a part-time player. Maybe ten years from now, we’ll be looking back at these Packers teams with the same kind running game admiration mentioned previously. Nah, that’s never going to happen as long as Air McCarthy is still in town. We’ll just have to settle for better results when they do decide to run the ball.——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.