The Atlanta Falcons have one of the deepest rosters in the League that has one of the best receivers in Julio Jones. But in a culture that is obsessed with greatness is Julio Jones the best receiver in the League?
Answering whether or not the Atlanta Falcons have the best receiver in the League first requires looking at the competition. Only two names have consistently made plays at the level Julio Jones has. Those two players are the Steeler’s Antonio Brown and the Giant’s Odell Beckham Jr.
Saying Antonio Brown is a special player (Click for Highlights) feels to cliche and underrates how good of a player Brown truly is. His ability to start one route and ad lib it into another and get open rivals any player in the league.
Finding a problem with Brown’s game is difficult if not nonexistent, Brown has taken heat for being a diva receiver including un-needed celebration penalties and an infamous locker room video that landed his coach in hot water. Whether or not the “diva receiver” tag is deserved Brown is a top three receiver in the League who’s game may best be described in the final highlight in the video above.
With the game on the line Brown is hit in the chest by the ball at the two yard line with three defenders around him Brown continues to fight until he pushes the ball over the goal line winning the division and taking it from the Ravens.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a diva receiver there is no arguing that but one who can change the complex of the game anytime he touches the ball. His team can live with his sideline antics and his decisions to party with the likes of Manziel and Justin Bieber as long as he can continue to do things like this.
Three times in the highlights above Beckham takes a simple slant route and breaks it for a score. His explosiveness and speed allows him to take cuts that lose defenders with regularity and give him the natural ability to change the game in a single play more than any of the three receivers.
His flashiness works against him however, as much as it does for him though it has resulted in fights with Josh Norman and reported differences in the locker room. Beckham is every bit the diva receiver he is thought to be but who can complain when he is capable of making impossible catches such as the famous one-handed catch a catch that speaks for itself.
Julio Jones is unique in this group because he has the ability to both run away from contact and to run and muscle through contact. Taking a look at his top ten plays of 2016 will put to bed any doubts of just how good Julio is. Julio Jones is a grown man on a football field playing against boys the catches he makes the contact he can stay up through is what separates him from the other two players in his weight class.
That is not to say that he is easily the best of the group but that he does have abilities that neither Brown nor Beckham do respectively. Another separating fact is that Julio Jones is in this group and has never once been a known distraction or been labeled a diva receiver.
Outside of Larry Fitzgerald the level of talent that Jones has without having the diva receiver tag is a commodity of its own. In fairness that does little to decide who is the best receiver of the three on the field and while Falcons fans may have their own biases who is truly the best of the three is an answer that only time will give.