Can Julio Jones Surpass Roddy White?

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons runs after a catch during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Roddy White has led the Atlanta Falcons in receptions for five seasons straight, dating back to 2007. He's caught at least 100 passes in the past two years and has clearly been Matt Ryan's favorite target since he's been here.

Unfortunately for White, leading the way in almost every major statistical category has to come to and end eventually. In fact, it could be sooner than you'd expect.

Julio Jones was unbelievable during his rookie year. If not for a nagging hamstring issue No. 11 easily would have hit the 1,000-yard mark and finished with double digit touchdowns. And if Mike Mularkey wasn't calling the shots, who knows what could have happened? Maybe I'm a little to hard on that guy, but still.

Take a look at the numbers between Roddy and Julio when they both played an entire game together last year:

Targets Catches Yards Avg. TDs
Roddy White 121 66 844 12.8 5
Julio Jones 85 51 934 18.3 8

White was still the first choice for Ryan, but take a couple facts into account. First, Julio didn't have an offseason to prepare. The lockout cut things short and basically threw the rookie right into regular season action. It was also his first year, he had a limited playbook with MM and he had those dreadlocks constantly weighing him down.

Now he gets the full amount of training camp and OTAs to go through, he has an OC who loves the vertical passing game and he is dreadlock free, which should clearly shave a few seconds off his 40 time.

Roddy is only 30 years old, so it's not like he's dropping off all of the sudden. However, I do think Julio can give him a run for his money when it comes to leading the team in receptions. He was a far bigger deep threat last year, so total yardage should be an easier stat to beat White in.

They're both unbelievable athletes and two of the best players in the NFL, so it really doesn't matter who beats who in terms of numbers. As long as they both stay healthy, I'm happy. But for argument's sake, do you think the second-year guy can dismantle the veteran's reign as Atlanta's leading receiver?

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