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2011 NFL mock draft: Julio Jones and the other side of the character debate

2011 NFL mock drafts have worn me out to a large degree. At some point, the speculation becomes its own justification. It's not unlike the foolish babble that passes for engaging political talk on our fine 24-hour cable news channels. However, every now and then you stumble across a nugget of wisdom and insight as some writers hold themselves above the fray. 

Doug Farrar's latest 2011 NFL mock draft at Shutdown Corner is out today. Mirroring a trend in mock drafts of late, it's got the St. Louis Rams selecting Julio Jones with their 14th pick. Why the pick makes sense for the Rams should be fairly obvious at this point in time. The Rams need reliable, talented receivers for their gifted young quarterback. Julio Jones is a reliable, talented receiver. Thus...

Bur Farrar makes another point that gets lost in the fray sometimes. Character concerns have gotten as much play in the media this year as ever, with controversy swirling around several of the top picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. One thing you don't hear much about is when character can be a real valuable asset. And that's a big part of what Jones brings to the NFL. 

Jones doesn't have elite downfield speed per se, but there is no tougher receiver in this class - he played part of the 2010 season with a broken hand, and just blew it up at the combine with a broken foot. Jones' intense love for the game can only be a benefit to a Rams team that is starting to put it together for a possible long run of contention.

Of the players in the NFL, Jones told the press at the Combine that the one he tried to model his game on is Ray Lewis, linebacker Ray Lewis, because of his intensity, passion and the way he hits. Jones would be a great fit for the Rams because he embodies the team's philosophy.