Julio Jones has been explosive since coming into the NFL in large part because of his dominant physical stature, at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds.
While in their prime, some of the NFL’s bigger wide receivers, such as recently-retired Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson, have been some of the most unstoppable forces in league history.
However, with great size comes concern over a player’s potential longevity. When a receiver is over 6-foot-2, it can be nearly impossible to cover them with one, or sometimes two defensive backs. This leads to more double coverage and more hits, plus additional wear and tear on that receiver’s body as they accumulate so many shots over time.
Johnson ultimately decided the punishment was no longer worth it, so he called it quits relatively early after playing just nine seasons. He spoke openly about it after retiring to ESPN’s Michael Smith.
At 30 years old, Johnson walked away, just three years after breaking the NFL’s receiving yards record with a 1,964 yard season in 2012 – a record Jones came just 93 yards shy of breaking in 2015.
After Megatron’s retirement, Jones took on the mantle of the NFL’s most feared receiver. The final two years of Johnson’s career though were not up to the standards Lions fans had become accustomed to.
So, the question is this: how much longer can Julio Jones be Julio Jones?
Jones is coming off of another spectacular year, with 1,409 yards and six touchdowns. It’s his third consecutive season with at least 1,400 yards and six scores.
Jones has faced nagging injuries throughout his time in Atlanta. He also took a beating during his college career at Alabama, a program with a justified reputation for running their top prospects into the ground.
Despite some tough injuries, Jones has done a decent job of staying on the field for the most part. He’s only missed 17 total games over six seasons.
There are plenty of examples of elite wide receivers extending their careers by staying in great shape, like Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice. Or some simply adjust to a slot receiver role, like Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.
Jones is a great route runner, has tremendous hands and the ability to make adjustments as his physical skills erode.
Plus, the Falcons have done a great job of surrounding him with other explosive weapons, which will only help extend his impressive career.
We’re betting he can dominate for at least another six years. What do you think?
Source: Falcons Wire | Matt Urben | July 10, 2017