Where Julio Jones ranks among top WRs
(Note: This article was updated to reflect the news of Julio Jones’ contract extension.)
On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones became the next star wide receiver to cash in with a big contract extension, following on the heels of mega-deals for the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant and the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas. The deal is reported to be worth $71.5 million over five years, with $47.5 of that guaranteed.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would question whether Jones is worth that type of money, given his physical talent and ability. But based on his on-field performance, where exactly does Jones rank at the position, compared to Bryant, Thomas and the league’s other elite wide receivers? Our new PFF rating system can help answer the question.
Jones ranks tied for fifth with Bryant in PFF rating entering this season (think of it as a measurement that predicts how well a player will perform this season — basically, how good is this player right now?), behind only Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Calvin Johnson and Randall Cobb.
What stands about his 2014 performance is his efficiency — he ranked fourth in our yards per route run metric, and was particularly devastating on deep routes, ranking third in the NFL behind only Bryant and DeSean Jackson in terms of catch rate on throws over 20 yards. His most effective route types were go routes and post routes, which combined to make up 24 percent of his targets.
Bottom line: Jones is a top-5-caliber NFL wide receiver. Provided he is able to stay healthy, this should prove to be a worthwhile investment for the Falcons.