Julio Jones Named NFL’s Most Indispensable Player

A year after recording the second-most receiving yards (1,871) and second-most receptions (136) in a single season, Julio Jones was named the NFL’s most indispensable offensive player. Every year, Adam Schein of NFL.com, comes out with his list of the NFL’s most indispensable offensive players, with exception to quarterbacks and this year Jones toped the list.

The Atlanta Falcons acquired Jones with the sixth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Falcons traded up with the Cleveland Browns to secure Jones by trading away two first-round picks, one second-round pick and two fourth-round picks. Those picks were eventually turned into Jonathan Baldwin, Greg Little, Jalil Brown, Owen Marecic and Brandon Weeden. None of those players saw the field in 2016.

Standing at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, with a vertical jump of nearly 40 inches it is almost impossible to stop the man. At the 2011 NFL Combine, Jones led all wide receivers in the 40-yard dash (4.39), broad jump (135.0 inches) and 60-yard shuttle (11.07). It is not normal for someone with Jones’ size to be able to jump as high as he can or run as fast as he can, making him that much more special.

Last season the Falcons had the third-lowest overall drop rate in the NFL. As a team the Falcons only dropped 4.8 percent of their passes. Leading the charge was Jones and his 83 receptions for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns. Jones was forced to miss two games last season due to injury; however, his 100.6 yards per game led the league.

Every year Pro Football Focus (PFF) comes out with their PFF top 50, ranking the top-50 players heading into the next season. Heading into the 2017 season PFF ranks Jones as the number one wide receiver and the number four overall player. After a sensational 2016 season, Jones received a grade of 96.4 from PFF. That was second best in the league last season.

One of Jones’ many accomplishments came in week four of the 2016 season as the Falcons hosted the Carolina Panthers. In that game Jones exposed the young Panther secondary and exploded for 300 yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions. Jones became the sixth player in NFL history to record 300 or more receiving yards in a game. Since 1990 only two players have amounted for 300 or more receiving yards in a game, Calvin Johnson in 2013 and Jones in 2016.

Throughout his six-year career in Atlanta, Jones has played in 79 regular-season games and six playoff games. Throughout those games, Jones has complied 497 receptions for 7,610 yards and 40 touchdowns. Jones has continued to be a reliable threat in the passing game by catching 63.9 percent of his targets.

Once the playoffs commence Jones seems to turn his game up a notch by catching 78.2 percent of his targets. Throughout his six playoff games, Jones has pulled in 43 receptions for 639 yards and five touchdowns. During last season’s historic playoff run, Jones recorded 19 receptions for 334 yards (17.6 Y/R) and three touchdowns.

Below is a list of all of Jones’ awards and honors throughout his six-year NFL career:

Awards and Honors:

  • 2011 NFL All-Rookie Team
  • First Team All-Pro
    • 2015
    • 2016
  • Four Pro Bowls
    • 2012
    • 2014
    • 2015
    • 2016
  • Most all-time receiving yards per game (96.3)
  • Second-most single-season receiving yards (1,871)
    • 2015
  • Tied for the second-most receptions in a single season (136)
    • 2015

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Originally published at LastWordOnProFootball.com