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Julio Jones can be top-five receiver starting now

Roddy White knows his role is diminishing. Fantasy leaguers can't draft Julio Jones high enough. The expectations have soared for the Atlanta Falcons' second-year receiver this offseason.

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Even the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gave Jones the paper's coveted "Minicamp MVP" award. (No, it's not really coveted. Or meaningful.)

So what is the ceiling for Julio Jones this year?

There is a weird perception that Jones wasn't that great in 2011. As a rookie, 959 receiving yards and eight touchdowns is great, especially considering that he didn't have an offseason to prepare. It doesn't matter what the Atlanta Falcons traded to move up and draft him. If he continues to produce at this pace, he was worth it.

Jones' numbers for yards and touchdowns rank among the top-20 all-time by rookie receivers. The Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald, the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson and the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson make up the holy trinity of receivers in the league. Jones did better in his rookie year than any of those three did in theirs, with only Andre Johnson coming close.

With new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter in town, the Falcons are expected to run more no-huddle offense this year. We expect the team to throw the ball more than ever, because it has strength in numbers at receiver and tight end.

Jones can be a top-10 receiver starting now, and we wouldn't rule out him being in the top five. His combination of strength and big-play ability is hard to match.

By next year at this time, the perception about Jones will have changed for good.

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