All the talk at the wide receiver position during this offseason has revolved around the comebacks being made by Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. While those are nice storylines, the wide receiver most people will be talking about as the season progresses will probably be the Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones.
We know that preseason games don’t matter, but an impressive showing like the one Jones had versus the Baltimore Ravens is hard to ignore.
He looked like a beast snatching balls out of the air on slant routes, he showed solid hands while plucking a ball out of the air in full stride along the right sideline but his best catch was an under-thrown ball that went behind his defender in the end zone.
To make that catch, Jones had to reach around his defender's head while on the move and secure the pass while also making sure he stayed inbounds. Jones ended the night with six catches for 109 yards while playing in limited action.
Now just imagine how good Jones would be if quarterback Matt Ryan were more accurate. Ryan had problems adjusting to Jones speed last season and under-threw the ball to Jones on numerous occasions. It seems that Ryan is still struggling with that.
While Ryan will probably never be confused with the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Drew Brees, he could end up having one of his best seasons statistically throwing the ball to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and an improved Jones. All three receivers have good hands and are great at making adjustments on the ball.
But if Jones’s preseason performance is any indicator, then he could end up being Atlanta’s best receiver in only his second year in the league. It’s clear that Jones has put a lot of work in over the offseason and is prepared to have a monster year.
With a work ethic like that Jones is bound to have a long and productive career. And with Jones’s combination of size and speed he has the potential to put a real dent in the record books in the same manner as Owens, Johnson and Moss….without all the drama they bring of course.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.
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