Positives: Jones has a rare combination of size, strength and speed for a wide receiver. His 4.39 40 time at the combine surprised me and I expected him to run a fast time, somewhere in the 4.40-4.45 range. Julio had an overall successful career at Alabama, but he has incredibly high potential because of his athletic ability, speed and hands. I have seen him make a number of impressive catches, both attacking the ball at its highest point in the air, or making a one handed catch. He makes tough catches look easy and regularly makes routine catches easily, and with his hands away from his body. He flashes the quickness and burst to run good routes, and occasionally ran impressive routes that created quality separation, giving McElroy plenty of space to throw the ball to him. He also adjusts to the ball well in the air, gets good yardage after the catch due to his speed and his strength (has a good stiff arm) and also offers some quality blocking due to his size and strength.
Negatives: Jones has always had great potential but he hadn’t quite lived up to it, partly because Alabama runs the ball so well and partly because he has had lapses in concentration at times. That is what leads to drops on what should be routine catches, and at times he will try to turn and run before he has complete control of his passes. This allows him to get good yardage after the catch at times, but also leads to more drops than I would like. He has good hands, but he still drops passes that a guy with his ability should not drop. I don’t know how that will be corrected or improved upon, but with a good wide receiver coach I think he could potentially cut down on those drops. He also runs inconsistent routes, but that is something that can be said of a lot of wide receivers entering the NFL. He definitely has the speed and burst to run good routes, he just needs to work to improve his route running.
Overall: Jones absolutely has the potential to be a #1 WR in the NFL, and he may be a top ten lock at this point after his incredible combine performance. Jones has good hands, great size, speed, strength and athletic ability. He flashes impressive route running, but this needs improvement. However, if he continues to improve like he has at Alabama he could be a rare wide receiver that can take over games and make defenses account for him with every coverage. He flashed this kind of ability against Auburn when he had 10 catches, 199 yards and a touchdown. I think Jones will be a very good NFL WR and a very good #1 WR.
Projection: Top 10. If he does make it out of the top 10 there is no way he makes it past the Rams at #14 overall.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 4.0
Body Control: 4.0
Thanks for reading! McElroy and Dareus scouting reports will be up in the next day or two.