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Julio Jones goes to Atlanta Falcons with sixth pick in NFL Draft

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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(Note: The Atlanta Falcons traded up from 27th overall to sixth, taking over the Cleveland Browns' spot.)

Pros: Has the size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and toughness to be a nightmare after the catch and a dynamic blocker. Thick and muscular player who uses a lethal combination of jukes and stiff-arms to get upfield after catching short passes. Will not go down upon first contact, especially on deep passes where his adversaries are defensive backs — it will take at least one form tackle to take him down when he's going full-speed, and probably more. Will accelerate in intermediate areas and just bowl people over. Surprising second-level burst for such a physical player. Has no fear when it comes to crossing routes in heavy traffic; he'll instigate contact in those situations more often than not. Will make the tough catch with defensive backs draped on him, especially in the end zone. Good downfield blocker. Tough player who has proven an ability to not only play through injury, but play well. Put up ridiculous numbers at the scouting combine with a broken foot, further displaying his determination.

Cons: Jones has always been an inconsistent hands catcher, leading to more drops than his talent should allow. It's an odd trait considering how his hands seem to get better the more he's under threat to take a hit. And though he can impress with his short-area speed, he's not a true downfield burner — he'll have to take a little off and set himself on jump balls — though he could excel in the right kind of vertical offense. Doesn't yet run tight cuts in short areas, but he's improved greatly as a route-runner through his Alabama career. Physical style and injury history would seem to be a worrisome combination against better and stronger defenders at the next level.

What he brings to the team: Jones would have put up much more prolific numbers in an offense that was more pass-friendly, but he didn't help himself with an inconsistent ability to catch the ball. At the same time, his toughness, determination to make more out of plays after the catch, and willingness to do the little things, added value beyond the numbers. Jones has the pure athleticism to be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, and after working out a few technical kinks and adjusting to more complex coverages, his future should be very bright. On the high side, he could be Terrell Owens without all the ancillary garbage.

Is it the right pick? It's a great pick for the Falcons, though the move up is pretty steep. Putting Jones together with Roddy White and Tony Gonzales makes Atlanta's offense very, very dangerous. Clearly, the Falcons are aiming for the Super Bowl right now.

The rest of the top 10 picks
1. Cam Newton -- Carolina Panthers
2. Von Miller -- Denver Broncos
3. Marcell Dareus -- Buffalo Bills
4. A.J. Green -- Cincinnati Bengals
5. Patrick Peterson -- Arizona Cardinals
7. Aldon Smith -- San Francisco 49ers
8. Jake Locker -- Tennessee Titans
9. Tyron Smith -- Dallas Cowboys
10. Blaine Gabbert -- Jacksonville Jaguars

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