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Falcons’ Julio Jones Is The Real Deal

Safeties don’t stand a chance around Atlanta’s fly boy.

By Michael Tillery November 16, 2012, 11:37 AM EST

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If you look up in the sky, you'll see red, white and black fly by. Julio Jones' time is now. As a national champion at Alabama and a second-year upstart, the Randy Moss comparisons don't fade him. Matt Ryan smiles when he golden boy floats 'em. Mike Smith’s professionalism challenges him. He's the superstar introvert that extroverts wish they were. The silence that goes boom.

At 6’3”, 220 lbs, the second-year receiver is the perfect size and has the strength to run through you. He’s not Moss fast, but 4.4 is copacetic. Forty times are overrated, anyway. Julio moves the sticks.

His stats, to this point, are 98 catches for 1,662 yards and 13 to the crib. His hands are skilled and Ryan is the beneficiary. Ryan's career numbers will be sickdiculous if the Falcons maintain a priority on keeping Jones. He is a special talent. Don't try to Mawse him. He's a player for his own time. Just watch him perform on Sunday and let your mind wander.

Julio hypothetically steps to the line. Defense is in cover two. "Damn" he thinks to himself, hoping Ryan audibles. Matt stays with the play. Winks his way.  "Hut!"

The cornerback underestimates and gives Julio inside release. Call is a quick slant. Julio catches it perfectly in stride and looks straight in the face of the linebacker. Did Ryan just throw a hospital ball? No.11 sees him licking his lips. He's planted for the sick hit. Not this time. Jones reverse spins. Stiff-arm to the linebacker’s hat. One jab step to the left. Safety bites. Burnt.

Jones scores straight up the middle of the field against a defense that normally doesn't allow this. The Georgia Dome rise’s up. He keeps the ball, walks past “D-Block” and they tip their hat. This is a career showing promise.

What's interesting about the Falcons is that Jones isn't getting much of the shine nationally. He's a talent that transcends how football is viewed and displays that, sometimes, a player other than the quarterback is just as important.  

Roddy White is louder. Matt Ryan is highly touted. Granted, there are reasons for that, but Jones has few peers. Many expect him to be the prototypical NFL receiver for the next five to seven year years. He fell into the right position. If you remember, the Falcons gave up a lot for him. The region wanted A.J. Green because he played at Georgia. Yet, the best decision was made with the offense in mind, despite not having a 2012 draft pick.

Yes, future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez is on the downside and White is 30, but pilfering a receiver of Jones' talent will sustain your fan base. He's the Moss of this current league.

That's not a comparison to Moss, but more a thought of how Jones fits into the NFL right now. He simply cannot be guarded one-on-one. Even if safety help comes over the top, no defensive back in this league can out jump him. When he's in the open field, defenders will adjust because Julio has a defensive mentality. He will hit you. He’s physical and will score more touchdowns because of his approach to the game.

Get off me, he'll say. Overzealous tacklers will miss many times because his attributes encompass a “just right” juke button. The great thing about Jones is that he is doing everything just right. He's not arrogant. He let's White do his thing, defers to Ryan, knows his position and is simply waiting to show 'em what he's got.

However, when Jones realizes he doesn't have to take a back seat to any NFL player, his talent will be recognized with quarterbacks. His skill transcends how the league is viewed. Don't be shocked when his ability becomes the NFL standard.

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Michael Tillery has contributed to the New York Times, The Nation, SLAM, Sacramento Magazine and hosts a radio show on Chuck D's RAPstation.com. Find him on twitter at @michaeltillery.

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