TUSCALOOSA AL - NOVEMBER 26: Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against Mike McNeil #26 of the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26 2010 in Tuscaloosa Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
It's been a busy week for us discussing Julio Jones, one of our 13 Buffalo Bills draft targets. We did physical and character scouting reports on Jones, and we talked to RollBamaRoll.com about his career in Tuscaloosa. How sound is the logic of the Bills taking Jones at No. 3? No one better to answer that type of question than Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the gap, however big or small you think it is, between Jones and A.J. Green.
Kadar: There's a gap, of course, but Jones closed it some with his NFL Scouting Combine performance. No one, except maybe people at Alabama, expected him to put up numbers quite that good. Everyone expected Green to, but not the much bigger Jones. So there's a gap, it's just not very big. It's very much like the gap in 2003 between Andre Johnson and Charles Rogers – and remember, few thought Rogers was going to flame out like he did. In fact, Jones and Green are a little like Johnson and Rogers (just hopefully not with Rogers' later concerns). Jones is big, fast and physical like Johnson was coming out of Miami. Green is a sleek, up-the-field wide receiver with great leaping ability.
If you had to argue for the Bills taking a receiver, how would you go about it? (Would it resemble an argument for taking C.J. Spiller?)
Kadar: If we're talking specifically about Jones, it wouldn't be as much like arguing in support of the Spiller pick, because Jones would give the Bills something they just don't have. If we were talking about Green, you could argue the Bills have a player like him (but smaller) in Lee Evans. That's the same way the Bills had a running back sort of like Spiller in (Fred) Jackson and (Marshawn) Lynch. Jones would be what every Bills fan wanted in James Hardy - but much, much better. He's a physical playmaking wide receiver who can line up outside or work over the middle. He's been in my Top 10 players all year for a reason.
Do you have any misgivings whatsoever about Jones panning out as a pro? I know you've liked him for quite a while.
Kadar: he only thing that keeps Jones from being higher ranked is the consistency of his hands. For as big and strong as Jones is, he doesn't always play up to it when a defender is coming his way with the ball in the air. He has a tendency to pull his arms in and miss the catch. He's also had a small injury history you always have to be scared of as a team picking in the top five.
Let's assume the Bills take Jones at No. 3. Grade the pick.
Kadar: The grade would depend on two things. First, is Green available? Second, is Buffalo really set with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback? If the answers are no and yes, respectively, then it would be a B grade initially. Jones is a very good player, undoubtedly. Taking wide receivers that high is just such a crapshoot. For every Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson, there are just as many average or bad wide receivers taken early. I think Jones will be a good receiver in the NFL. But I never thought Braylon Edwards and Roy Williams would be average or Charles Rogers would smoke his way out of the NFL. If Green is there, I'd really question the pick. I'd question it even more if they don't like Fitzpatrick as the starter for at least the next handful of years.