Who can replace Julio Jones?
By: Jeremy Trottier
As most of the NFL community knows by now, Julio Jones is more than likely going to be traded away from the Atlanta Falcons. With that almost being a guarantee at this point, the Falcons are going to be in a scramble to grab another WR who can at least fill some of his production alongside Calvin Ridley. Even with drafting Kyle Pitts, they could still use a true WR2.
In this article, I will be going over my three potential WRs who are currently free agents that could most benefit the Falcons this season to fill the hole Julio leaves.
Veteran receiver Golden Tate is one of the larger free agents left in general right now, never mind one of the top free agent wide receivers out there still. At 5’10” and 197 LBs, he relies heavily upon his speed and agility to make plays, as well as his proficient route running. Last season he had a relatively down year with the Giants, putting up the following statline:
- 12 games played, 4 started
- 35 receptions on 52 targets (67.3% catch rate)
- 388 yards (11.1 per reception)
- 2 touchdowns, 11 first downs, 7.5 yards per target
Overall his efficiency as a receiver is what will make him a target. Being able to average more than a first down per reception is pretty impressive considering he did not get a ton of playing time this season. In his two years in New York he has had injury issues with his calf and hamstring, as well as suspensions which have since been cleared. As long as he can stay healthy in 2021, he should have no issue being at the very least an extremely good slot option.
Another veteran receiver, however, this one slightly older at 36, we have Danny Amendola. One of the better possession-oriented receivers in free agency right now, Amendola is extremely reliable as a pass catcher and can normally turn them around for some good YAC as well. Last year he started 5 games, playing in 14 of which however. In 2019 he started 10 of the 15 games he played in, which is much more impressive.
In his two seasons in Detroit, he put up 602 and 678 receiving yards, as well as a touchdown and boasting a 65.1% catch rate. One of the more impressive stats of this season for Amendola is on his 46 receptions he had 13.1 yards per reception, which is pretty high up there considering he is not extremely fast anymore. Overall he would be a great option for reliability in Atlanta if they more desire that route.
Wrapping up the list we have a much younger option in Isaiah Ford, who spent his three seasons in the NFL so far with the Miami Dolphins. He received pretty minimal playing time there, however in his playing time he made the most of it. He put up the following stats in 2020:
- 1 game started (10 games played)
- 28 receptions on 44 targets (63.6% catch rate)
- 276 yards (9.9 per reception)
- 18 first downs, 6.3 yards per target
The main reason I added Ford to this list is because of his potential, at only 25 years old he still has time to develop. If given a chance in a starting role, he could definitely produce at an above average level.