Today former Texans wide receiver, perennial fantasy football sleeper and major contributor to the Ravens playoff win last year Jacoby Jones, became the newest Baltimore Raven. For those who don’t remember Jones inexplicably tried to field a punt with Cary Williams bearing down on him in the second round of the playoffs last year. When Jones bobbled the punt it resulted in the Ravens jumping out to an early 7-0 lead over the Texans and an eventual win. Five months later Jones will enter camp trying to help the Ravens by not bobbling the ball but holding onto it.
There is a lot to like about Jones signing. First, he is an incredible physical specimen: 6-foot-2 1/2, 210 lbs. and a 4.49 forty-yard dash time. Simply put, he has all the physical skills needed in a #1 wide receiver. Jones’ physical attributes shouldn’t be quickly dismissed despite his lack of production in Houston. When players with these skills/attributes “get it” they become stars. In past NFL seasons players like Miles Austin, Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall were all recent “projects” with similar physical skills who’ve developed into #1 wide receivers out of nowhere. More analysis on Jones and how he fits into the 2012 Ravens after the jump.
Furthermore, by signing Jones the Ravens do not have to use their best corner, Ladarius Webb, on punt returns. Despite Jones’ bobble in the playoff game against Baltimore he is a proven commodity as a kick/punt returner tallying four return touchdowns in his first five NFL seasons. Thus, even in Jones does not breakout this year he’ll still add depth at wide receiver and on special teams.
It would be irresponsible to simply celebrate the Jones’ signing in this space. After all, its fair to describe Jones as an injury prone knuckle-head. Despite his physical tools he never surpassed Kevin Walter as the Texans #2 wide receiver. Jones’ best season for receptions was 2010 when he had 51 for 562 yards and three touchdowns. Furthermore, Jones has showcased poor decision making on and off the field including being arrested under suspicion of drunk driving in 2008. Still, there is plenty of upside with Jones to look forward to. The move also shows that the Ravens front office recognizes Joe Flacco’s strength as a down the field passer and are attempting to surround him with viable weapons.