It seems I'm flogging a dead horse here, but hopefully this post will clarify my stance on Julio Jones and make my point easier to discuss.
I will embed a few links of the highlights of AJ Green, Julio Jones and Jonathan Baldwin. After the links I will hopefully cohesively digress the reasons as to why I believe Julio Jones would not be a great fit for the Rams.
I will retract my statement that he is no more than an elite #2 WR in the NFL. I will now say this, Julio Jones is not what the Rams need to go forward. Should we select him I hope he proves me wrong, but seeing as we are months away from the draft and even before declarations, I will stand by this viewpoint and maybe open some eyes as to why I feel this way about Julio Jones.
(I will try and avoid the 5 minute highlight videos, and get the quickest selection that epitomise the players I'm showing)
Julio Jones videos:
Now it is clear all of these guys are phenomenally talented, and I would hope I'd be correct in assuming in an ideal world we leave the 2011 draft with AJ Green... however, the issue is dependent on if he is there when we pick, which looks unlikely seeing as how well we have done this season.
My point here is not so much that we should trade up for AJ Green (although I believe we should) but that we should NOT pick Julio Jones. Not because he is not a talented WR, but that his skillset is not what we require to take our offense to the next level.
I will form my argument using the videos I have posted, two of Julio Jones' marquee grabs and runs, but also of write ups (referencing the Peterson vs Jones duel) and other longer highlight videos.
Julio Jones is a possession, YAC big bodied receiver, with questionable hands. He is great at outmuscling DBs (and even linebackers) to balls and being dangerous with the ball in his hands. A lot of his highlights show him grabbing the ball on crossing routes or screens, then mauling his way to first downs or touchdowns.
In his recent matchup with the #1 CB prospect in the country Jones had a good game, mainly beating Peterson on slant routes. Source is here: http://www.mockingthedraft.com/2010/11/6/1798446/julio-jones-cements-as-early-first-round-nfl-draft-pick
He has made plays downfield, but it is not his primary use in Alabama's offense, and his skillset is better suited to underneath and mid range routes.
Question: What do the Rams need in this draft?
Answer: A legitimate #1 WR, a downfield threat who can go UP and make plays in traffic, opening up underneath routes to Amendola and co. whilst also freeing up running lanes for His Holiness Sir Steven Jackson.
Is Julio Jones what the Rams need?
from the above breakdown and evidence, it seems he is a bigger bodied, more highly rated out of college version of what we already have. Amendola is great underneath, and behind him is YAC master Gibson (don't deny it despite his poor show vs 49ers) and the potential of Mardy Gilyard to make people miss in space too.
A lot of people moan about the Rams offense being too dink and dunk orientated, and that the underneath throws make it too easy for defenses to camp within underneath the 1st down marker and challenge us to beat them over the top. by stacking the box there is less room for Amendola and co. to make yardage and less room for Steven Jackson to run. There is no THREAT of a deep ball, and thus our offense can get bogged down with 3 and outs, heaping pressure on our stellar Defense. This also makes Rams offensive football less exciting to watch as a spectator.
The Rams need a receiver like (or we just need) AJ Green. This guy can make great plays in traffic, downfield, making YAC underneath and shows dependable hands. If a ball is thrown behind him, above him, under him, around him or through him he still makes the grab. He is a beast. The threat of AJ Green deep or mid will move safeties and dbs off the line of scrimmage, giving more freedom for Pat Shurmer to call a variety of plays. Thus making the Rams offense more dynamic and a threat to score from any range.
AJ Green may not fall to the Rams, and the chances of us moving up to grab him are slim. Although we can always dream...
Jonathan Baldwin is "a poor man's AJ Green". The highlights I have posted showcase his range and his ability to make plays DOWNFIELD. He is a go up and get it receiver. I would be happier getting Baldwin over Jones because he is something we do not have, and his skillset and size is invaluable to making our offense more dangerous.
As someone said in another post, if AJ Green is the next Megatron, Baldwin is Optimus Prime. Continuing this analogy Julio Jones is like Bumblebee.
I'd rather have a less cool Big Time Transformer than a very cool Autobot.
(sorry my Transformers knowledge is limited)
To wrap up my verbose post, Julio Jones is a very talented WR, but his skillset does not match up to our need coming into this draft. He is essentially a bigger version of what we have already, and although his talent level may be higher than Baldwin's (in the eyes of very many) I'd take Baldwin's lower talent level but his current skillset over Julio Jones (if we can't get Green).
Baldwin can add things to the Rams offense I simply cannot see Jones adding.
Should neither Green or Baldwin be available, but Jones still be there, I'd rather see us address a more pressing need at other positions than make what I'd deem a luxury pick.
Thanks for reading this post, hope you enjoyed it and feel free to discuss in the comments below.