NFL Draft Opinions Accepted as Truth: Julio Jones Will Be Best Player Available

Jake LangenkampCorrespondent IIIApril 5, 2011

Today, the internet is saturated with media coverage of sports, especially the NFL. 

Modern technology has made it possible for savvy sports fans without journalism degrees or jobs with a print affiliate to occasionally report news but more often give their analysis and opinion.

With so many voices speaking about leagues, specific teams and individual players, you would expect that opinions would be as numerous as the amount of people giving them.  This doesn’t always happen though.

Often, a few people come to the same or similar conclusions about an issue, and they let that judgment be known. 

Pretty soon, after that viewpoint is repeated enough by several people that respect the originators of the opinion, it becomes regarded as a fact or truth, rather than just someone’s perspective.

There are several examples of this for the Houston Texans and their draft decisions this year. 

While I highly respect a lot of the people that initiated and pervade these beliefs, I disagree with some of the theories themselves.

Over the next few days, I will take one of these viewpoints that I don’t see as the absolute truth it is made out to be and tell you why.  After that, you can judge for yourself. 

Here is the first installment:

“If Robert Quinn and the prospects universally expected to go in the top ten are off the board, Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones would be the best player available for the Texans.”

Please note that this isn’t debating whether Julio Jones should or should not be taken based on the merit that he is the best player available.  It is calling into question whether he would actually be the best player left.

Julio Jones has been considered a darling pick amongst Texans fans for some time now, and his performance at the scouting combine only made him more notorious as a dark horse pick defying convention.

After all, a 4.39 40 on a broken foot just proves the BPA theory. 

That kind of athleticism combined with the production of 78 receptions for 1,133 yards and 7 touchdowns against SEC competition in his final year makes Jones a no brainer, right?

Most analysts, however, will tell you though that he didn’t play 4.39 fast on the football field. 

Additionally, while the sum of his production is incredibly impressive, he had a tendency to disappear for games in his last season.

In fact, in the same year that he managed monster totals like 8 receptions for 188 yards, 12 for 221 yards, and 10 for 199 yards against the likes of South Carolina, Tennessee and Auburn, he had performances such as the 4 catches for 19 yards, 1 for 8 yards and 3 for 41 against Florida, Mississippi and Mississippi State.

The three games mentioned against South Carolina, Tennessee and Auburn accounted for 30 of his 78 receptions in 2010. 

Moreover, if you take out those three performances, his remaining average for his three year career at Alabama is 4.02 receptions for 57.16 yards per game.

All this isn’t to say that Jones is a bad receiver or will be sub-standard in the NFL.  He is a highly talented prospect. 

I just don’t think that it is a certainty that he would be the best player left if Robert Quinn, Von Miller, Marcell Dareus and Patrick Peterson were gone.

Even if you don’t think that Prince Amukamara is a good pick for the Texans, which I do, consider California defensive end Cameron Jordan. 

On the surface, his 161 tackles, 17 sacks and one interception over his career aren't as impressive as Jones’ receiving stats.

Consider though, that Jordan’s production is extremely noteworthy given that he played as a five-technique his entire career. 

The position is not known to yield the opportunities for eye popping stats, but is integral for a successful 3-4 defense.

Upon further examination, Jordan’s stats show how consistent he has been through his career. 

Since he assumed his starting role in his sophomore season, he tallied 47, 45 and 51 tackles each year, as well as 4, 6 and 6 sacks.

He also played the exact position collegiately that he would for the Texans.  That might seem like an irrelevant point, but most five-techniques are converts from defensive ends from 4-3 schemes. 

That means that Jordan has more experience as a five-technique than every defensive end on the Texans except for Antonio Smith.

Jordan has been lauded for never taking plays off.  This was also noticed at the Senior Bowl, where there wasn’t an offensive lineman that could consistently block him.

Jones has flashier stats and combine numbers, but you cannot use this as a comparison tool against a five-technique. 

If you take into account Jordan’s consistency, production, the need that he fills, and overall talent into consideration, I would rate him higher than Jones. 

I do not doubt the talent of Jones, but I do not see him as a player that cannot be passed on at the No. 11 pick. 

There are several suitable alternatives in later rounds that fill the role of deep threat, such as Jerrel Jernigan or Denarius Moore.

Jordan fills more of a need for the Texans, but that aside, I still feel he is a better player than Julio Jones.  What do you think though?  Let me know in the comments or on twitter at @JakeBRB.


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