In preparation for the upcoming 2019 season, I wanted to let you guys know something you already knew — Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in football.
We’ve given you stats all offseason backing this claim up, and will continue doing so. Today’s stat comes courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
Explosive Plays (15+ yards); 2018 #NFL WRs— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 5, 2019
Julio Jones 50
DeAndre Hopkins 42
Mike Evans 42
Brandin Cooks 37
Jones is not only first on this list, but he’s also first by a pretty healthy margin. Checking in behind him is the second best WR in the NFL — Deandre Hopkins — and the second best WR in the NFC South, Mike Evans. Rounding out the top four is Brandin Cooks, whose game has always been predicated on big plays, and who played in the most explosive offense in the league last year.
The 37 explosive plays Cooks totaled is one more than the total number of yards Michael Thomas had in the NFC Championship Game (36 for those who are counting at home). Thomas, for the record, doesn’t appear anywhere near this list. He hauled in 12 more receptions than Jones in 2018, but totaled 272 fewer yards.
Just for good measure, here’s one more bonus stat illustrating Julio’s exceptional play:
Most games with + receiving yards in 2018:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 7, 2019
1. Julio Jones: 10
2. Adam Thielen: 9
T-3. Mike Evans: 8
T-3. JuJu Smith-Schuster: 8
5. Deandre Hopkins: 7
This seems to coincide with the explosive play list, as Evans and Hopkins are both within the top five, with Jones towering over the rest of his WR companions.
To note, it’s pretty astounding that Julio managed to hunt down Thielen in this category considering the fact that the Vikings WR recorded 100-plus receiving yards in the first eight weeks of the 2018 season.
Jones also led the entire NFL in receiving yards in 2018, and has the highest receiving yards per game mark in NFL history.
All of this is to say that Julio Jones is really good.