Some clueless Browns fans were upset that the Browns passed on Julio Jones and took the incredible trade offer from Atlanta. Jones may turn out to be a great receiver, but the main reason Jones was rated so highly has to do with his physical skills. He comes from a high-profile program and he wowed scouts at the combine. That said, Jones has a problem at times catching the football (like Braylon Edwards) and he didn’t exactly rack up big stats at Alabama.
With one of the extra picks the Browns received from Atlanta, they selected North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little in the second round. Take a look at the photo above. This guys looks just as imposing as Julio Jones.
Let’s compare the two. Both are big receivers. Jones is 6′ 3″ and 220 pounds, while Little is 6′ 2″ and 230 pounds. Jones has more speed according to his 40 time, though many argue that he didn’t display that speed on the football field. Meanwhile, Little is the strongest receiver in the draft. Both can excel in a West Coast offense where receivers get the chance to run after the catch. Little used to be a running back, so he’s hard to bring down. He also has an amazing vertical leap so he’ll be an asset in the red zone.
Yet when you read the scouting reports, the issue of “ball skills” runs in favor of Little.
Here’s the Scouts, Inc report on Jones:
Flashes strong hands and makes some spectacular catches. Shows the ability to contort his body and adjust to poorly thrown ball. Shows excellent awareness and body control along sidelines. Does a nice job of timing leaps when attacking the jump ball. However, he drops more ‘catchable’ balls than he should. He occasionally will allow ball into frame on occasion. Also will suffer from some focus drops. Needs to be more consistent in this area.
Now read what they say about Little:
Possesses strong and natural mitts. Catches the ball with hands and rarely lets ball into frame. Adequate sized hands (9 1/8′) and arms (33 ¼’). Body control is above-average and can consistently pull in ball thrown outside of frame. Also flashes ability to elevate, fully extend and bring in acrobatic grab (See 1st QTR Pitt 2009). Tracks the deep ball well and flashes ability to pull in over the shoulder catch.
While Jones is more spectacular, Little is rated much higher by scouts when it comes to catching the football – something that’s quite important for a receiver!
This comparison highlights why the Browns had to make the trade with Atlanta. More picks give you more chances to strike gold.
Little fell to the second round because he took some improper benefits at North Carolina and was suspended for a season. But if you look at his skills, he has the potential to be as good or better than Jones. It will be fun to see how this plays out.