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Jerry Rice foresees breakout year for Julio Jones

Julio Jones Pic Getty Images

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones recorded 54 catches for 959 yards and eight touchdowns during his rookie season, despite missing three games. The Falcons expect growth from Jones in his second year and incumbent top receiver Roddy White anticipates a lesser role for himself, which suggests Jones may be the focal point of Atlanta’s new offense.

Appearing on SportsCenter Wednesday, ESPN’s Jerry Rice nominated Jones as his top breakout wide receiver for 2012.

“I love this kid,” said Rice. “He’s awesome. He’s big, he’s fast. … I think he’s gonna have a breakout season this coming year.”

Jones ran most of his pass patterns down the sideline last season, while White and tight end Tony Gonzalez racked up underneath catches. When Jones did go over the middle, he was particularly dominant.

If new Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter expands Jones’ role in the short and intermediate passing attack, we suspect Rice’s pre-training camp prediction will look awfully good once 16 games are in the books.

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14 Responses to “Jerry Rice foresees breakout year for Julio Jones”
  1. dobberdubinsky says: Jul 12, 2012 8:27 AM

    Totally agree with Rice, this kid is a phenomenal talent, he will breakout, have a better year than Cincy’s Green and is top 5 WR this year.

  2. gsimp00 says: Jul 12, 2012 8:30 AM

    And to think…people actually knocked the Falcons for trading up for this kid. Julio will be a top 5 WR this year. One of the best draft day trades in NFL history right here.

  3. beckzhere says: Jul 12, 2012 8:52 AM

    Julio is going to have a monster year. As a Falcons fan, I was extremely skeptical when the infamous trade went down. But he is, and will be, worth it for the next 5-7 years. He will be the top of the second tier of NFL WR’s. Not quite Fitzgerald, Megatron or Andre Johnson good but just below.

    He is not only a great team player, but already great in the Atlanta community. Any NFL team would LOVE to have him and I’m certainly glad that we do. Was it worth what we gave up? It’s to early to tell. But I’m gonna go with…Absolutely!!

  4. crownofthehelmet says: Jul 12, 2012 9:06 AM

    gsimp00 says:

    And to think…people actually knocked the Falcons for trading up for this kid.
    ———————————————————-

    Not for trading up, but for giving up 5 picks to do it. Especially given they really wanted Green. 5 picks on option #2 seems excessive. That’s the knock.

  5. schmitty2 says: Jul 12, 2012 9:36 AM

    Still pains me that the Ram’s didnt trade up for him

  6. jacobslatter says: Jul 12, 2012 9:47 AM

    5 picks on the eventual #1 option is not excessive. Roddy White is on the wrong side of Young Hill. Knock wood.

  7. ccshocktalk says: Jul 12, 2012 10:31 AM

    Julio is solid but lets not forget that he is playing with Matt Ryan, Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White, and Michael Turner to take some heat off him. No knock on Julio, great player, and if he keeps working like this will have a solid career.

    BUT- don’t forget about A.J Green, who missed 2 games to Julio’s 3 misses but still had 1,050 yards, 7 TD’s and a rookie QB throwing him the ball all while playing in the AFC North, arguably the toughest division in football.

  8. lbouchard1 says: Jul 12, 2012 10:53 AM

    I love Julio, think he’ll be great. But I still slightly prefer Green, who was picked 2 spots ahead of him. Julio’s better athlete, but Green’s better natural WR.

  9. falconsfan says: Jul 12, 2012 11:15 AM

    AFC North the toughest division? Based on what? Historical records set by the Steelers? The AFC North has two very good teams every year and two barely serviceable teams. Just like every division in the NFC and AFC outside of the West divisions. Don’t knock the NFC South, between the Falcons, Saints and Panthers coming on strong it’s possible it’s the toughest young division in the NFL.

  10. shootscuz says: Jul 12, 2012 12:29 PM

    I would take Green before Julio, but both are very good.

  11. MikeisWise says: Jul 12, 2012 12:33 PM

    AJ Green put up his numbers essentially being the only reliable target for Andy, a ROOKIE QB. You’d have to be an idiot to think he won’t blow up(even more) as a #2 emerges on the other side and Andy becomes more reliable. Easily a better WR talent.

    And AFC North is the toughest decision based on the fact that it is. Any unbiased football observer can see that. NFC South? lol. Sure.

  12. djkeitse22 says: Jul 12, 2012 1:33 PM

    Good Call Jerry Rice……..Thank You for that, Captain Obvious.

    Wasn’t last year a breakout year, so this year should be an extraordinary, breakout year, right?

  13. gsimp00 says: Jul 12, 2012 8:32 PM

    crownofthehelmet says:

    Not for trading up, but for giving up 5 picks to do it. Especially given they really wanted Green. 5 picks on option #2 seems excessive. That’s the knock.

    ——————————————————————————

    Can you name even ONE player that Cleveland drafted with those 5 picks? 5 years from now, those players that Cleveland used those picks on won’t be on their team. Julio had 1,015 total yards (959 recieving, 56 rushing) and 8 TDs in only 13 games….and he was really the 3rd or 4th option on the team last year. Keep in mind, he put up those numbers without an offseason due to lockout. Julio will be the focal point of the Falcons offense this year. Julio is an exceptional talent is worth every pick they gave up for him.

  14. dwatkins69 says: Jul 13, 2012 5:05 PM

    Cleveland ended up with Brandon Weeden and Greg Little from Atlanta.

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