Welcome to the second installment of my Combine Primer series, where we’re taking brief looks at UNC’s four representatives making their way to Indianapolis and laying out expectations and hopes for their weekend in front of just about every decision-maker in the NFL. This time, we’re looking at senior wide receiver Antoine Green, who after some frustrating injury luck, put together a pair of complete seasons as an upperclassman and entered the draft after a very respectable year as Drake Maye’s #2 option and primary deep threat.
Antoine Green arrived to Chapel Hill in UNC’s 2018 class along with Dyami Brown, but injuries mostly kept him off the field for his first two years, then he was buried on the depth chart behind Brown as he played himself into a 3rd-round draft selection during UNC’s 2020 season. With nearly all of that season’s production leaving for the NFL, Green stepped up into the starting role in 2021, and while most of the press and yards went to teammate Josh Downs, Green was a more than capable #2, especially late in the year. And in 2022, after missing early action with another leg injury, Green had his best season yet despite a new quarterback, catching 43 balls for 798 yards and 7 scores in 9 games for a tidy 18.6 yards per catch — putting him at 11th in Power Five in that stat. He had a few standout moments, including a game-winning touchdown catch against Duke and a career-high 180 yards and two scores against Pittsburgh, pacing UNC for probably its best overall performance of the season. Green was invited to the East-West Shrine Bowl after the season and impressed in practices, though he was held back by quarterback play in the game itself and didn’t make much of an impact.
What to look for:
I’m interested to see how Green advertises himself: does he lean on his tape and stats and call himself a plug-and-play deep threat in the mold of former teammate Dyami Brown, or, off the top of my head, previous draft selections like Torrey Smith and James Washington? Or, based on flashes he showed at UNC, does he bill himself as somebody who can do more than take the top off the defense, who can line up anywhere and run a diverse route tree? If it’s the former, then he’ll need to clear a couple of thresholds but he’s a fairly WYSIWYG prospect with clear Day 3 value and a skillset that needs representation at all levels of football. If it’s the latter, then basically everything he does will be new information, and he’ll have to treat every drill as an audition because of how limited his tape is in terms of working in the short and intermediate ranges.
What he’s got to gain:
Well, depending on how the previous section ends up looking, the variance to this answer is pretty large. Deep-threat wide receivers are valuable, but those like Green who neither have the lion’s share of their team’s receiving production nor an outlier amount of touchdowns usually find themselves planted firmly in Day 3. Green’s age as a redshirt senior and injury history also aren’t fantastic for his draft stock, and all that combines to putting him around #300, or on the 6th/7th round cusp, on most of the comprehensive Big Boards I’ve seen thus far. A few things could push him to the middle or earlier in Day 3, and the first would be speed: if he can prove that his speed is more than functional for a deep threat and an actual weapon, that’s not a small thing. He’s probably not one of the class’ speed demons, but there’s a big difference between a guy who runs mid-4.5s and wins deep solely with his release and ability to stack a DB and a guy who can do that but also can just burn a backpedaling corner with 4.45 or better speed. Green appeared to me to be an example of the former, but he could certainly prove me wrong and that would make him a significantly better prospect. With his limited tape running intermediate and short routes, good agility testing could also move him up teams’ boards: even if he doesn’t choose to call himself a positionally diverse receiver, good agility could influence some teams into thinking they could make him one.