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March 1, 2011

Combine Chatter: Julio Jones

Former Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones worked out at the NFL Combine on Sunday. TideSports was on hand in Indianapolis to talk with Jones and see what the analysts had to say about his draft position.

Workouts
40-yard dash: 4.39 seconds
Vertical jump: 38 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 11 feet, 3 inches
Bench press (225 pounds): 17 reps

*Julio Jones participated in all of the drills with a broken bone in his foot. Jones will need surgery on his foot and may be out up to eight weeks.

Draft projection: Middle of the first round
TSS prediction: No. 14 to STL
NFL comparison: WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG

What the experts are saying:
"Julio is the second best wide receiver behind A.J. Green. He could be a little bit more consistent catching the ball. Obviously, he's had some durability issues, but if he checks out durability-wise, I'd be surprised if he fell out of the top 20, and I'd be really surprised if any other receiver got drafted ahead of him besides Green. He just catches the ball so well. He's physical. He's NFL ready. He's a pro."
-Todd McShay, ESPN draft expert

"I don't want to call him a possession receiver. I think that's a slap in the face. I think he's much better than that. He's going to be a solid first-round pick. I think he could start, but he's not a true No. 1. Number one receivers in the NFL are going to draw double teams, and he's not that guy. That's why he's the second best receiver, not the first, but that doesn't mean he won't be a rock-solid second receiver in the NFL for years to come. I think he's going to be very, very solid and a very good player."
-Adam Caplan, FOXSports.com NFL reporter/insider

"Julio Jones is the most physically, well-prepared receiver in this draft to handle the transition to the NFL. He looks like an NFL receiver, the way he's built, the way he carries himself on the field, his ability to get off of tight, physical coverage. He can come into the NFL and contribute immediately. If he focuses a little more attention on actually securing the ball before trying to make that initial move to elude defenders, then he's going to be a very successful NFL receiver."
-Rob Rang, CBSSports.com senior analyst

"With Julio, he came in with a huge reputation, and I think for the most part, he had a really good career. One of the coaches I was around earlier this week in Texas had worked Julio out a lot and said he was just a great physical specimen. I think he'll be a guy who should catch 90 passes in the NFL and be a big-time guy. The thing you want to see is will he consistently be that guy?"
-Bruce Feldman, senior writer ESPN The Magazine

Julio Jones quotable from the combine:
"A lot of guys have injuries. I've probably had more than everybody else, but I didn't quit. I didn't stop. It didn't hold me back. I didn't miss any practices or anything like that. I finished my season."

"I have a defensive mentality. I'm not scared to hit. I'm a physical guy. I look for that. I like to hit defensive players because they're not used to getting hit. They're used to hitting offensive players and getting them out of the comfort zone, so when I hit them I try to get them out of their comfort zone."

"With A.J. (Green), I can't say I'm better than him and I can't say he's better than me. We worked out together. He's a great guy, and he's a great athlete as well."



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