NFL Draft 2011: Julio Jones Gaining Momentum as Cleveland Browns' Selection?

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IApril 26, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 9: Wide receiver Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide grabs a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

NFL draft experts all around the nation are completing their final attempts at mock drafts and carefully placing their selections on their own personal big boards.

For the Cleveland Browns, the early-round drafting process is quite simple. An offensive weapon and defensive talent are at the top of the Browns' wish list, as A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson have been talked about more than any other potential selection.

However, Alabama's Julio Jones may be gaining more support among the Cleveland faithful than anyone had previously anticipated.

Jones has been described as an offensive talent that would become a perfect fit in Pat Shurmur's new offensive plans in 2011. Jones is a receiver that is very talented in the slot and specializes in short slant routes while still possessing big-play ability.

Jones differs from A.J. Green in the fact that Green has had many more long-distance routes and also excelled in his ability to get behind opposing corners and burn them on long touchdown receptions.

Jones made his way through the college game as an efficient receiver that was reliable and unafraid to take a hit for a minimal gain. Jones caught 179 passes with the Crimson Tide and totaled 2,653 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns. 

The Browns could desperately use the talents of a player like Jones, as they finished near the bottom of the league in nearly every offensive category in 2010.

Chansi Stuckey was the Browns' leading receiver last season, as he caught 40 passes for just over 300 yards but failed to score a touchdown. In fact, only two players on the Browns roster caught more than two touchdown passes throughout the entire 2010 season.

Cleveland has struggled to score points on a consistent basis over the last two seasons due to inconsistent quarterback play and a lack of talent at the receiver position. Jones could offer a much-needed presence on the outside for the Browns and also give the opportunity for players like Mohammed Massaqoui and Brian Robiskie to gain more favorable matchups.

Cleveland finished the 2010 season ranked 31st in points scored per game and 29th in total passing offense.