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NFL Draft

Why Julio Jones Will Have Profound Impact On Titans

  • The Draft Network
  • June 26, 2021
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For many, the thought of Julio Jones as a Tennessee Titan has yet to set in.

For Titans faithful, the arrival of Jones within one of the league’s most well-rounded offensive units will offer much more than just a boost in the passing game. His presence and intangibles could serve to be a priceless addition as one of the NFL’s most decorated wideouts in recent memory.

It starts with his developing relationship and competition with third-year wideout A.J. Brown. A two-time 1,000-yard receiver to begin his career, Brown has jumped onto the NFL scene accruing 122 receptions with 19 touchdowns, the most of any pass-catcher heading into their third season. The old adage that “iron sharpens iron” couldn’t be more true of a statement when eyeing Brown taking his next step into the conversation among the league’s elite wideouts. With Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Adam Humphries now gone, 129 targets and 15 touchdowns now must be accounted for within a Titans offense predicated on its ability to connect in the passing game when diverting from the run.

Brown must take the next step in his development if Tennessee eyes its second division title in three seasons, and who better to work side-by-side with than the two-time All-Pro in Jones?

Jones’ presence stems out even further to the underlying success of the entire offense, as Derrick Henry and the Titans’ second-ranked rushing offense will now be presented with a less crowded box with Jones joining Brown on the outside. Gone are the days of teams presenting eight- or nine-man looks to halt Henry’s dominance, as defenses will simply find themselves in a worst-case scenario attempting to defend Ryan Tannehill and his innate ability to carve defenses in play-action. And for that matter, play-fakes have been a key trait in Tannehill’s overall development, as the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year executed play-action concepts to the tune of 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions in 2020, while completing passes at a 60.4% clip. It’s a case of pick your poison where the league’s leading rusher awaits if you go heavy on the outside to defend through the air, or on the flip side, you load up the box to protect against the run, and the trio of Jones, Brown, and free agent vertical threat Josh Reynolds find themselves in man coverage—a dream scenario for Tannehill and head coach Mike Vrabel.

A leader both on and off the field, inserting a generational talent into a roster ready to compete could go down as the headline move of the offseason if all comes to fruition for the Titans. While serving as the de facto WR1 in the NFL for nearly a decade, the expectation and criticism that comes along with being one of the most unique talents to enter the NFL since the turn of the millennium is an excruciatingly difficult standard to live up to.

While his presence will no doubt assist in Brown’s development and boost the overall efficiency of the Tennessee offense outside of his target share, let’s not forget who Jones is as a player in his own right. It would be fallacious to scope the Titans’ success this fall without Jones potentially at the top of every major receiving category. He wasn’t acquired to serve in a mentor-only position playing limited snaps or to just serve as a voice among many in the locker room. While his leadership skills are inherently present, Jones has led, and always will lead, with his play on Sunday. 

For some, his departure from Atlanta will serve as the beginning of the end of what has been a dynamic, Canton-bound career to this point. It’s simply not factual. At 32 years old with fresh legs and a new atmosphere, don’t be surprised if Jones returns to all-world form, commanding an exciting Titans offense toward the postseason.

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