Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates a touchdown catch with teammates against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter of the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Julio Jones was the #6 overall pick for the Atlanta Falcons in the 2011 draft. His acquisition caused a big splash at the time. When asking the question, was he worth it, it can still bring up emotions, for a Falcons fan or for Cleveland Browns (from which we acquired the pick) fans. Whether you believe giving up a first, second, and third round picks from the 2011 draft and the first and fourth round picks from the 2012 draft was worth it or not, his production on the field has spoken for itself. Though still a young and developing player, he is starting to show some real superstar potential.
Recent Regular Season Statistics:
Week 9 New Orleans Saints- 4 receptions for 75 yards, making it 18.75 yards per reception.
Week 10 Arizona Cardinals- 3 receptions for 33 yards, making it 11 yards per reception.
Week 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 6 receptions for 147 yards, making it 24.75 yards per reception. He also scored 1 touchdown in that game.
Week 12 New Orleans Saints- 5 receptions for 48 yards, making it 9.6 yards per reception.
Week 13 Carolina Panthers- 5 receptions for 66 yards, making it 13.2 yards per reception. He scored 1 touchdown in this game.
Week 14 New York Giants- 6 receptions for 74 yards, making it 12.33 yards per reception. He scored 2 touchdowns in this game and also had 18 rushing yards
Week 15 Detroit Lions- 7 receptions for 71 yards, making it 10.14 yards per reception. He scored 1 touchdown and to be fair had -7 yards rushing in this game.
Week 16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 3 receptions for 56 yards, making it 18.67 yards per reception.
Recent Post-Season Statistics:
Divisional Round vs. Seattle Seahawks– 6 receptions for 56 yards making it 9.83 yards per reception. He had no touchdowns, but he did record an interception.
NFC Championship vs. San Francisco 49ers– 11 receptions for 182 yards making it 16.55 yards per reception. He scored 2 touchdowns in this game.
The first impression I get when looking at his stats is their obvious consistency. Mike Smith is the type of coach that keeps track of everything on the sidelines. It may be intentional from the coaches that he is getting around the same amount of receptions every game, but it could just be Julio consistently gets open. Either way, Mr. Jones is very fond of the end zone. Also from watching and remembering the final playoff game last year, Julio was dominant on that big stage, and his statistics reflect that. In only his second season, Julio showed some real maturity.
Julio is similar to most players on the Atlanta Falcons in that he is very quiet off of the field. There has only been one time that I have heard about anything other than charity events from him. Recently, a man working for Julio had a work-related incident. He was trapped inside a ditch, and hee was rescued by the Gwinnett fire department, and is expected to be fine. Julio said nothing publicly other than he planned on contacting the man personally. Julio was involved with newsworthy charity early on in his career, and he donated his trademark dreadlocks to the charity Locks of Love. This charity makes wigs for children with cancer, which is very admirable, and some lucky little guy or gal is now walking around with a Julio Jones wig and may not even know it! Just like the majority of the team, he is an all-around productive member of society.
Future with the Team:
Julio’s future with the Atlanta Falcons is certain for the foreseeable future. He is young, he is talented and he is only getting better. I think Thomas Dimitroff would rather cage fight a bear than let Julio Jones wear another team’s jersey. The team owes Julio $1,846,250 in 2013 and $2,581,875 in 2014, before he becomes a free agent in 2015. Those numbers are miniscule compared to his production level, but he will see some real money after the 2014 season (if he isn’t extended prior to that campaign). This might actually work out in our favor in the 2014 season though, because both Roddy White and Julio Jones contracts end in 2014 making it a contract year for both players. I think we all know that when a player is playing in his contract year, his stats seem to take a jump; just some food for thought.
Possible Roles Next Year:
Julio might be playing much the same role next year as he did this year. Dirk Koetter’s vertical passing game will see him seeing plenty of action through the air. The one thing I can see him seeing more of in 2013 would be the screen game. Julio has amazing speed for his size and can take the ball out of the backfield. With that, he turns out to be a great option for the wide receiver screen. He scored more touchdowns than Roddy White last year, which might be a trend that we see continue. Julio fits in with any offensive game plan but this team is looking at him to take yet another step forward. In a stacked offense like the Falcons possess, he is going to have to put his best foot forward to show that he has made that leap.
Julio Jones has wowed the Atlanta Falcons audience for only two seasons now, but what incredible seasons they have been. He is young, and has many more awe-inspiring years to come. I would think it is a safe bet to say that any fan, old or new, would consider Quintorris Lopez “Julio” Jones a fan favorite.