NEW YORK — With the strong bond of a long-standing friendship, the top two receivers in the 2011 NFL Draft are taking a buddy-system mentality into Thursday night’s first round.
“If he goes before me, I’m happy for him; there aren’t going to be any hard feelings,” Alabama’s Julio Jones said of Georgia’s A.J. Green. “And if I go before him, the same for him; there aren’t going to be any hard feelings.”
By most accounts, Green is expected to be taken as high as No. 4, by the Bengals. Jones also has been mentioned as a top-10 possibility, although many analysts see him falling to the Rams at No. 14. Either way, the two will root for each other.
It has been the same approach since Jones and Green got to know each other as high school All-American selections — Jones in Foley, Ala., and Green in Summerville, S.C.
Since then, there has been one question they have constantly heard from reporters and scores of others: Who is the better receiver?
The way Jones and Green — who communicate regularly — have responded clearly goes a long way toward allowing them to remain friends.
“We don’t look at it like that,” Jones said about offering an opinion of who has the edge. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, and that’s how me and him go about it. We’re just athletes that love to work. He’s a game-changer, I’m a game-changer. I think he can go in right away, start and contribute to whatever program he goes to. I think the same about me, and I think he’ll say the same about me, also.
“You really can’t go wrong with me or A.J.”
By the end of Thursday night, two NFL teams will have taken the initial step toward finding out if that, in fact, is the case.
Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci