Oklahoma State cornerback A.J. Green was stunned when his name wasn’t called in the NFL draft last weekend, but he’s happy to be headed to Cleveland as an undrafted free agent.
Green was expected to be drafted in the mid to late rounds of the draft, but his name was never called. There were 27 cornerbacks taken, and Green wasn’t one of them, making it the first time since 2008 at least one Oklahoma State player wasn’t drafted.
“It just built up a fuel in me just watching every corner just get took and get took and I’m waiting on the call and it never came through,” Green said. “I definitely have a different type of hunger within me, especially with my pops passing earlier in the week. It was just very emotional for me, but I kept my head on straight, kept my faith in God and I’ve got some things I want to get done in Cleveland.”
It was an emotional week for Green that started with the death of his father. Green announced on Twitter three days before the draft that his father had passed. Green wrote in his post that “I will find the strength from within and continue the legacy of Alvin James Green.” Part of his father’s legacy will be continued in Cleveland when Green joins the Browns.
Once the draft was down to the last five or six picks, Green’s phone started ringing. Teams were calling him and his agent to check Green’s interest in signing if he ended up going undrafted.
“I just replied to them nicely even though a lot of teams passed on me,” Green said. “I just kind of had my head on straight and talked to my agent. He told me the Browns had a pretty good deal that’s probably going to be unmatched. It was one of the biggest (undrafted free agent contracts) in history for the Browns. It kind of sparked something in me like they’re giving me this opportunity and I’m just going to make the most of it.”
The Browns agreed to sign Green to a contract worth $145,000 with a $15,000 signing bonus and $130,000 guaranteed. Green was a three-year starter for OSU and helped lead the Cowboys to an 8-5 record. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound corner out of DeSoto, Texas, finished his senior year with 49 tackles and five pass deflections. He also had one interception that he returned for a touchdown.
Green will be teaming up with former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who will be entering his third season in Cleveland. Green is joining a Browns team that ranked 26th in passing defense according to NFL.com. The Browns finished the 2019 season with a 6-10 record. Green said he believes he can fit well with the Browns defense. Green said Browns defensive back Denzel Ward does a great job at playing cornerback, and he is somebody Green has been watching for a while.
“It was an emotional ride the whole process,” Green said. “But I’m blessed to be a part of this organization. I’m ready to work. I’m proud to be a Brown. … I just want to say thank you Cleveland for welcoming me.”
A look at A.J. Green’s college career