Julio Jones, WR, Alabama, 6’4 220
Position Ranking: #2
Strengths: Very good size for an NFL wide receiver. Releases smooth and quick off the line and quickly establishes his route. Physical against press coverage and uses arms and strength to beat the jam. Shows a nice, short stride and runs with good balance and acceleration for his 6’4 frame; not a long strider or high-cut with his movement. Has a great feel for the ball in the air on deep routes and fades, making sharp adjustments and putting himself in the best position to make the catch. Comes out of his breaks crisply for his size. Uses his body very well to shield defenders and outmuscles cornerbacks with regularity. Knows how to gain leverage on deep routes with tight coverage, stacking the defender, and only allowing himself the position to make a play.
Has improved progressively in his route running. Uses head nods and feet to sell his routes at the stem and push the cornerback away. A good stalk-blocker in run support and is aggressive in the run game. Blocks to the whistle. Tough and plays through injuries. Doesn’t show a prima donna attitude that talented receivers carry or beg for attention.
Needs Improvement: Isn’t a natural hands catcher and often uses body for assistance; better when he’s chasing the ball than when he’s coming back to it. Doesn’t have great downfield speed to separate at the top of his break. Strength is only adequate after the catch, doesn’t run through square tackles or show a strong leg churn on contact. Still learning how to understand coverage and settle in zones or break off his routes. Concentration is off/on at times, leading to dropped passes.
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