Julio Jones is lauded around these parts plenty, so it’s not like we need to go out and find new, nice things to write about the man. It’s nice to be thinking about the future and what might be coming next for Julio, though, instead of just reflecting on what he’s achieved in the past.
We have that opportunity today, because Pro Football Focus projected Julio to lead the league in receiving yards in 2020, and that deserves at least passing acknowledgement. It’s in an article projecting fantasy success, yes, but with Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu gone, it’s evident that PFF is feeling like #11 is heading for a massive season. Here’s what they had to say:
The efficiency metric of yards per route run may as well be named after Julio — he has led all WRs in that category in five of the last seven years and never ranked outside the top five. Jones and Thomas were the only players to have more than 40 catches of at least 15 yards last season. Book it.
PFF has projected 1,628 yards for Julio, probably because he’s consistently put up huge yardage and some of the team’s more established receiving options have moved on. There’s also the small matter that Julio has finished #2 (2019), #1 (2018), #2 (2017), #2 (2016), and #1 (2015) in receiving yards over the past five seasons, so he’s never far from first place no matter what the circumstances.
His chief competition will be Michael Thomas, who led the league in yardage last year with what was likely unsustainable targets, DeAndre Hopkins and his likely increased target share in Arizona, and excellent players like Travis Kelce, Chris Godwin, and Keenan Allen. Any of those guys could lead the league, but with the Falcons offense looking perhaps just a bit sharper heading into the year, Julio’s still a damn strong bet if we get to see football.