Exhibits a good feel for reading zone coverages and knows where to sit down underneath. Plus, he gets up to speed quickly when asked to get down the field, does a nice job fighting his way through coverage and tracking the football vertically. Extends his long arms and makes a play on the football in jump ball situations, and I love the grit and power he displays as a blocker in the run game. Is physical into contact, has a passion for blocking down the field and adds a nice element to the run game as well.
Seemed to thin out a bit this past season, which allowed him to generate more separation for himself in the intermediate pass game and more of a burst out of his breaks. However, still has too many lapses in concentration and puts the ball on the ground too often — especially over the middle of the field. Lacks elite top-end speed down the field and won't be able to simply outpace defenders at the next level. However, because of his size, power and acceleration, he's still a threat to make plays vertically and win for you in jump ball situations.
Impression: He really does accelerate extremely well for a guy his size with the feel to consistently set up defenders as a route runner and find soft spots in coverage. Projects as a potential blue-chip caliber No. 1 wideout at the next level, but needs to do a better job holding onto the football."
Hands: Inconsistent. Drops too many passes due to a lack of concentration - usually when he's trying to make a defender miss before wrapping the ball up securely. Isn't a consistent "hands" catcher and allows too many passes into his pads, resulting in drops. Flashes the ability to extend and make the highlight-reel reception. Willing to run routes across the middle and take a big hit to make the catch.
Route Running: Made his biggest gains in this area as a junior. Improved consistency with his route-running. Doesn't possess elite speed or the explosion out of his cuts, but has learned to sink his hips and plant firmly to generate improved separation on short and intermediate routes. Is able to get away with less than ideal route-running due to his size and physicality. Much stronger than most collegiate receivers and won't be pushed around by NFL defensive backs. Deceptive deep speed to challenge over the top.
After The Catch: Among his better areas. Runs with a long stride but also possesses good agility to elude defenders in open quarters and the acceleration to run away from defenders. Rare strength to break free of tackles and gain yardage after the catch. Good vision to set up his blocks downfield due to experience as kick and punt returner.
Blocking: Among the better downfield blockers of the 2011 receiver class. Good size, strength and competitiveness. Keeps his head on a swivel and looks to help his teammates.
Intangibles: Proved his toughness by playing through various injuries over his career, including a broken hand in 2010. Highly decorated prep athlete rated the No. 1 overall prospect in the country by some scouting organizations. Involved with several local community service projects including the Santa America Foundation and local Optimist International club."
Agility: Good agility. Jones is a natural athlete with good balance and body control. Does not show much quick burst, but has good overall agility.
Blocking: Surprisingly, Jones is one hell of a downfield blocker. In the Alabama offense, where running the ball was a priority, Jones had to become a good blocker. Uses his long frame to lock up defenders, but also runs off corners and sells play-action.
Hands: Jones can be too inconsistent here, which is one of the few attributes separating him from top wide receiver A.J. Green (Georgia). Lacks concentration. Some drops are caused by him tensing up before taking a hit from defenders. Will let the ball get into his body too often. Does make the occasional catch that blows your mind.
Release: Has a very good initial release off the line of scrimmage. Very good size and strength combination to fight off press coverage. Has big hands and long arms to swat away defenders who line up in zero coverage. Is not a quick-twitch athlete with a ton of burst, but he has exceptional speed and lateral mobility to avoid jams at the line of scrimmage. Gets off the line and in to his route fast. When given a cushion by the cornerback, Jones will exploit them every time.
Route running: Jones was very raw as a route runner, but has shown loads of improvement over the last year. Does a great job sinking his hips to make cuts and get in and out of breaks. Does not have the speed to plant and explode, but makes up for this with precise cuts and timing. Can get sloppy at times and will round off cuts. Will get too high at times in his breaks, making the route easy to diagnose by defenders. A very dangerous deep threat.
Size: Jones has ideal height, muscle tone and strength. He has long limbs and big hands. A lean frame, but surprisingly strong.
Speed: Jones does not possess sprinter speed. He is a long strider who takes time to get to full speed. He does have the speed required to run by defenders once he is given room to accelerate. Runs very well after the catch due to good agility and acceleration when he has the ball.
Final word: In any other year, Julio Jones would be the No. 1 receiver on our draft board. In 2011 he has to compete with A.J. Green in a fight he will not win. Jones should be lauded for his exceptional play at Alabama, and for his many talents as a receiver.
A fighter, Jones has played through injuries and will run routes across the middle with no fear. A dominating deep threat and downfield blocker, Jones will bring immediate value to any NFL team.
Jones projects as an early 1st Round pick, and could hear his named called anywhere from pick five to twenty in the first round."
Is Jones the next Larry Fitzgerald?
Jones still has some flaws and work to do, but he has enough elite skills that should help keep him in the top 20 for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Jones is a fairly complete player with good size and bulk, along with excellent overall athleticism. Jones can go up for difficult jump balls, throw caution to the wind over the middle of the field, or elude his defender in space and turn on the burners for a long run. He has very little missing from his game in terms of talent and skill, and simply needs to continue to refine those attributes.
He has experience in a Pro Style offense and has faced elite competition for his entire career. Jones can make plays all over the field, but really goes to work when the ball is simply put in his hands. He can be a nightmare on short routes and screens, as he’s a threat to take it to the house, and is generally too strong and relentless for corners to take on by themselves. He excels when he can use his physicality after catching the ball, and routinely punishes the corner covering him. It’s that ability to both wear the opposition down and blow past them that make Jones so dangerous.
It gets old, but with Jones it’s true. His main knocks are his hands and route-running. He actually has soft hands, but simply has weak concentration when watching the ball into his hands. He seems to get too caught up in making the big play or preparing to level his would-be tackler, that he can sometimes lose the ball. The other area of concern is his merely adequate route-running. He tends to rely on his size and athleticism too much, and can round-off routes and get lazy. His concentration overall needs improvement, and as he progresses his awareness, he should only raise his overall game.
Jones is an absolute beast, and could really be a special talent in the right situation. As long as he fixes his drop issues and works hard on his routes, he’ll have no problems being an elite NFL receiver within 1-2 seasons. This type of talent and potential puts him in the first round, and his NFL-ready body and athleticism should keep his name somewhere in the top 20 of the first round.
NFL Player Comparison: Larry Fitzgerald"
Positive: Game-controlling receiver and the go-to guy when focused on his game. Fluid releasing off the line, effectively uses his hands to defeat jams, and get separation from opponents. Sells routes, displays terrific quickness into breaks, and stays low on exit. Fights with defensive backs throughout the play, works very hard to come free, and effectively uses his frame to shield away opponents or protect the pass. Gets vertical and extends to make the reception. Possesses solid eye/hand coordination. Quickly transitions from making the reception to running after the catch and shows the ability to break tackles, pick up extra yardage, and keep the play alive. Makes good use of the sidelines. Very effective blocker when he puts his mind to it.
Negative: Lazily comes off the line if he's not involved in the action. Often has lapses in concentration and will double catch or let easy passes slip through his hands. Does not always play to his size.
Analysis: When focused in on his game, Jones can be a one-man show at receiver and looks unstoppable. However, inconsistency remains a significant question. Jones possesses all the tools necessary to be a top receiver in the NFL if he remains focused on the field and plays to his level of ability."
Negatives: Has just average speed, is not a burner... Inconsistent hands, drops some easy passes, has lapses in concentration... Doesn't always give his best effort, can disappear in games... Often mistimes his jumps when going up for the football... Has had a few minor injuries, bruised his knee in 2009 and broke his hand in 2010... Doesn't always catch the ball with his hands, tries to use his body too much which has resulted in some drops... Production was somewhat limited by Alabama's offense which featured two of the best running backs in the country."
Strengths: Has the proper build for a premier NFL receiver. Excellent blend of size and speed. Extremely durable, unafraid to catch passes over the middle. Insanely productive Junior campaign. He has soft hands and he's a possession first receiver. A playmaker that can make something happen any time he touches the ball. Apt in kick and punt returns, returning 20 punts and 8 kicks in his career. Also broke off a 56 yard highlight reel on an end-around play earlier in the year. Electrifying playmaker. Excellent lower body strength, tough to bring down. Stops and starts on a dime, and has explosive acceleration. Willing and experienced blocker in a run-based offensive system. Has forced more fumbles than he's actually had (+1). Intense competitor.
Weaknesses: Not the smoothest route runner. Will drop catchable passes occasionally. Still immature and has a ways to go in terms of separation technique when facing the jam, needs to be more consistent in his work habits.
Projection: Julio could be the top player drafted this year. He has an unlimited amount of potential. His strength, size, and speed are going to be very difficult for even NFL defenders to compete with."
From the moment Jones stepped onto the field as a 6’4”, 220-plus pound freshman at Alabama he made the rest of the SEC feel his presence. However, in 2009, despite adding a National Championship to his resume, the man-child had a lackluster sophomore campaign, due in part to nagging injuries. Now about to enter his junior season, Jones has NFL scouts in a feeding frenzy to see him justify their lofty expectations. He is as physical as they come and a difficult player to cover one-on-one. This could be a turning point for the highly-touted pass catcher—will he flourish and have the type of All-American season everyone believes he can, or flounder in mediocrity and make everyone wonder if we all overrated him as a freshman? Make no mistake; the Crimson Tide wide out has the ability to have that All-American season, which could translate to a top-10 selection in the spring of 2011."
Jones lined up most of the game against LSU junior cornerback Patrick Peterson, widely recognized as the best cornerback in America. Jones excelled.
ESPN's Scouts Inc. has Jones listed as a fringe first-round player, but he proved the exact opposite. On the game, he had a tough 89 yards on 10 receptions with a touchdown.
Many of Jones' catches came on slants that Peterson couldn't figure out how to defend. Jones' most impressive play came in the first half. Quarterback Greg McElroy threw the ball to Jones' outside shoulder.
He threw it a little too far outside and Jones had to use his body control to readjust and stretch back outside to make the catch away from his frame. It's the kind of catch Jones might not have been able to make in the past.
Jones has also shown much better route running this season. Add those things to already very good hands and solid strength and Jones is cementing himself near the top of the first round.
To consider him anything else at this point is foolish.
So what does this game say for Peterson? Not much. Don't forget, when he matched up against Jones in 2009, all seven targets were incompletions.
It is somewhat troubling that Peterson was beaten several times on slants. But those same completions also showed his solid tackling skills. He should still be considered a top five player."
However, he is such a competitor that he has risen above the pain and continued to produce at a very high level, appearing dominant against Tennessee and matching up well against LSU's Patrick Peterson. He will fit as a "Z" receiver in a West Coast offense."
Julio Jones, for my money, is the best Wide Receiver in this Draft, bar none.
He commands tremendous Burst, amazing Fluidity, explosive Lateral Agility, and stark, brutal, Strength. He can flat out FLY, he's tenacious and tough, and a tremendous Navigator. It is only his inconsistency in hanging onto the ball that keeps him from being the best pure Receiver in this Draft. That honor goes to AJ Green.
But Julio Jones is the most violent, relentless, and devastating Blocker of any Wide Out since Hines Ward.
Julio Jones is a Beast on Wheels.
While AJ Green commands a tremendous Game and will doubtlessly get the HighLight Reel Catches, Julio Jones is the guy you want if you're in the business of winning World Championships.
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