The Detroit Lions selected UNC wide receiver Antoine Green in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. This made him the second Tar Heel drafted after teammate Josh Downs was selected by the Indianapolis Colts. Green, a product of Rockledge High, joins ex-rival Cocoa High graduate Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on the Lions roster.
Green, a five-season veteran of Chapel Hill, was part of an impressive receiving core for quarterback Drake Maye. As the 219th overall pick, he’s set to bring his talents to the professional level and provide quarterback Jared Goff with another throwing target.
A Well-Rounded Athlete
Green’s college career included football, track and field, and basketball, earning him the reputation as a deep threat with the potential to make an NFL roster. His decision to return to UNC in 2022 after an injury-riddled season led to him earning Third Team All-Acc and ACC Receiver of the week honors.
Green’s Thoughts on Joining the Lions
Green expresses excitement about joining an established offense with Jared Goff and looks forward to contributing to the team. He also highlights his strengths as a player, including his ability to stretch the field, read defenses, and make big plays with his size and hands.
Antoine Green shared his excitement, saying:
Yeah, it’s definitely exciting for me because I want to be able to contribute to that and just put on display what I can do and ultimately win games. So, I’m excited to be able to join the offense and get it rolling.
Mature Rookies: A Trend for the Lions
The Lions have shown a preference for drafting older players this year. In the sixth round, they selected 25-year-old Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker. Green, who will turn 24 this November, joins the ranks of mature rookies on the team.
Familiar Faces and Breaking Bad Omens
Green has some familiarity with the Lions’ coaching staff, specifically secondary coach Dre’ Bly, who previously held the same position at North Carolina from 2019 to 2022. Green mentioned that he and Bly have a good relationship, and having him on his side has been beneficial.
As the first throwing target drafted out of North Carolina since Eric Ebron in 2014, Green has an opportunity to break a bad omen. Ebron, who was drafted 10th overall, failed to reach his potential during his time with the Lions. However, as a seventh-rounder, Green can showcase his value while Williams serves his suspension.
Antoine Green’s Relationship with Dre Bly
Green credits Dre Bly for pushing him to compete against the best at North Carolina. He said:
Yeah, me and Dre, we have a good relationship, so I mean him being a DB coach at North Carolina just encouraging those DBs to compete against me all the time and, he knew what I was capable of so, he always tried to make me go against the best and that’s always what I’m going to do. He brought a lot out of me. It was definitely good having him on my side.
Seizing Opportunities Amid Suspensions
With Jameson Williams facing a six-game suspension, the Lions needed insurance at wide receiver, and Green could become an essential contributor to the offense. He will also have better chances than most seventh-rounders since three Lions receivers from last year’s squad are serving suspensions for breaking the league’s gambling policy.
When asked about the concern with WR Jameson Williams’ maturity level and if the selection of Green would help ease the transition during Williams’ suspension, Lions GM Brad Holmes said
Yeah, I mean, first of all, at the receiver position, you really just can’t have enough of them…I don’t think that Green can replace Jameson or any of that, but we are happy to get Green in the fold, and he does add a vertical, stretching element.
Special Teams Experience
Green’s college experience includes time on kick return, punt return blocking, and practicing as a gunner. He revealed, “Throughout the course of my career in college, I’ve been on kick return, I’ve been on punt return blocking, punt, and I’ve practiced gunner a lot too.”
Lions GM Brad Holmes sees Green as a potential special teams contributor, emphasizing that all rookies will need to prove themselves in this area. He stated, “With all these rookies, they’re going to have to prove themselves on special teams. So, hopefully, that’s the case.”
Off the Field: Photography and More
Away from football, Green has found a passion for photography. During his first media session as a Detroit Lion, he mentioned that photography is one of his current hobbies. The first camera he started with was a Canon M50, but now he uses a Sony Alpha A7III with G-Master lenses, which can cost upwards of $4,000.
Green’s interest in photography has also influenced his personal life. He revealed, “My girl I’ve been with her for three years, so she’s like a social media influencer, so I’ve been doing like all of her content, creating stuff and just helping her out with that.”
Apart from photography, Green is an animal lover, with two dogs and two cats at home. Additionally, he enjoys bowling as another leisure activity.
Ready to Work
Antoine Green’s arrival in Detroit brings a combination of talent, maturity, and diverse interests to the Lions’ roster. As he prepares to embark on his NFL journey, fans can look forward to his contributions both on and off the field.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Photo Credit: © Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports