Julio Jones is the king. Entering his 10th NFL season in 2020 Jones has worn the crown of “best wide receiver” for the last half decade, and he doesn’t look ready to pass it off quite yet.
We know that Jones will rack up a ton a yardage, good health provided — he’s recorded over 1,300 yards for the past six consecutive years (it’s still unbelievably frustrating that he fell six yards short of 1,400 in Week 17 last season) — but how many yards will number 11 end up with in 2020? Let’s discuss.
In his career, Julio Jones has averaged 1,347.2 yards per season. From the start, we’re going to disregard his first three seasons in the league when estimating this year’s baseline. Jones was a second option behind Roddy White in his first two years in the league (in 2011 and 2012) and he missed 11 games due to a broken foot in 2013.
As a result, we’ll exclusively look at Julio’s career from the onset of his streak of six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances beginning in 2014. Over the past six seasons, the Alabama alum has averaged 1,564.66 yards per season. The baseline we’ll set for the purposes of this article will be 1,565 yards.
The case for the over
Let me ask you this — are you really going to doubt Julio Jones when it comes to racking up yards on the football field? 1,565 yards is a pretty lofty number for any receiver, but it’s one that Jones has eclipsed three times in those six years.
Matt Ryan’s trust in Jones is immense, and an improved offensive line in 2020 (hopefully) will give this duo more time to connect and should make those deeper and slower developing routes (that Dirk Koetter loves to call so much) more effective. Julio was second in the league with 157 targets in 2019 indicating that Ryan still looks his way often.
The case for the under
It’s not a great trend that Julio recorded his lowest yardage total since that injury-shortened 2013 season last year, especially when considering the fact that his three biggest competitors for targets (Sanu, Ridley, and Hooper) each missed at least three games due to injury or trade.
Calvin Ridley figures to be a bigger part of the offense in 2020 and that may take away the need for Jones to put up gargantuan yardage totals. Number 11 may fall short of the target baseline not because he doesn’t have the ability to achieve it, but rather because he won’t have to.
That improved offensive line (hopefully) and addition of Todd Gurley should also help improve Atlanta’s rushing attack, which will decrease the need to push the ball downfield as much (Atlanta led the league with a 66.97% passing play percentage in 2019).
What say you? Do you think that Julio Jones will continue racking up the yardage at a rampant enough pace to nearly reach or eclipse 1,600 once again, or will he fall short of that targeted figure?
Over/Under: Julio Jones 2020 yardage
This poll is closed
He will record at least 1,565 receiving yards
1,565 receiving yards is too lofty of a mark for him to reach