Why Julio Jones is the Best Receiver in the NFL
In this past weekend’s NFC Championship game, Jones went off for 180 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions. He, along with his quarterback Matt Ryan, helped the Atlanta Falcons to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
Brown and his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, didn’t have the same success as Jones and was moderately contained by New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler as he had 77 yards off seven catches without a touchdown.
I mentioned the quarterbacks only because to be a great receiver, your quarterback has to do the job he’s paid to do and throw the ball to the receiver. A moderate example of this is Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler often had trouble getting the ball to his star receiver DeAndre Hopkins which really regressed Hopkins’ numbers this season. If you’ve got a quarterback that can get the ball to his wideout like both Brown’s and Jones’ quarterbacks are notorious for doing, then they can really show why they are the league’s superior talents at the receiver position. This is where Jones separates himself from Antonio Brown.
Statistics Tell Only Part Of The Story
Julio Jones: 14 games played, 83 receptions, 1,409 yards, 17.0 Yards/Reception, six touchdowns, 100.6 Yards/Game
Antonio Brown: 15 games played, 106 receptions, 1,284 yards, 12.1 Yards/Reception, 12 touchdowns, 85.6 Yards/Game
Brown had more touchdowns than Jones this season. The Steelers are more aggressive in the red zone as they look to pass the ball when near the pylons. The Falcons are not that kind of team. They rely heavily on the running game in that area.
Brown’s edge in receptions is easy to understand as well. The Steelers don’t spread the ball to other receivers as much as they do Brown.
From Jones down to their fifth highest player in receptions (Tevin Coleman) the difference is only 52 receptions. From Brown to the Steelers fifth highest player in receptions (Sammie Coates) the differences is 85 receptions.
The rest of the stats speak for themselves. On 23 LESS receptions, Jones amassed 125 MORE yards than Brown. Statistics are too heavily relied upon to determine who the best player’s are in today’s game so I’ll broaden my point.
The Superior Wide Reciever
When you pin Jones (6’4″, 220 lbs.) and Brown (5’10”, 180 lbs.) together, I’d take Jones for a few simple reasons.
Jones size allows him to go up and catch passes that most receivers, including Brown, wouldn’t be able to hold on to. It allows him to catch almost any jump ball and make defenders look silly.
His route running skills seem to trump Brown’s as well. He doesn’t have the agility or the breakaway speed that Brown possesses but he is able to move laterally and can break off of his defender with ease.
When you watch Julio Jones, he doesn’t like to be held to the short catch and run that receivers seem to make their money off of. Jones wants to be a deep threat. If he can beat the secondary and catch a deep pass over the defender, that’s where he thrives.
Truthfully, he draws parallels to Calvin Johnson by the way he is able to dominate his receiver and break off any contact. His tall frame allowing him to Moss any defensive back in the league.
Football Is More Than Just A Game
Not all of football has to do with a player’s play either. Character comes into play as well.
Antonio Brown was recently in hot water over a Facebook Live recording in the locker room after the Steelers Divisional Round victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. When’s the last time Julio Jones opened his mouth?
Jones is the quiet assassin. He does his job and doesn’t have people wanting to illegally take his head off because of it. Him being humble is part of what makes him great. He makes it a priority that when his name comes out of somebody’s mouth, it’s full of praise and not the negativity that many people associate with Brown.
Both Brown and Jones are on a fast track to the Hall of Fame in their young careers. One of them will be moving on to play in the Super Bowl while the other is sitting at home watching on television. Fittingly, the better one is trying to bring home his team’s first Lombardi Trophy ever.