- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPN.com reporters David Newton, Pat Yasinskas, and Mike Triplett all gave Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones his due respect when asked in a roundtable discussion over whether Jones was the most dangerous playmaker in the division.
Jones, arguably the most feared deep threat in the league, is intent on building off last season's record-setting performance, as he established a new franchise mark with 1,593 receiving yards.
In four seasons, Jones has left Falcons fans on edge with numerous jaw-dropping plays. Here are five we believe top them all, but feel free to disagree.
1. After further review, it's a catch vs. Indianapolis, Nov. 6, 2011: In the most explosive game of his rookie season, Jones stretched his body to corral a 50-yard touchdown while surrounded by three defenders. The Colts thought the ball touched the ground, but a replay review confirmed just how outstanding the catch really was. Jones followed with an 80-yard catch-and-run score, accounting for his first two career touchdowns.
2. Championship-caliber play vs. San Francisco, Jan. 20, 2013 : In the NFC Championship Game of the 2012 season, Jones sent the Georgia Dome crowd into a frenzy with his tip-toeing, second-quarter touchdown grab while being smothered by 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown. Jones used his size, strength, and athleticism to ward off Brown's defense. And Jones gave the Falcons a 17-0 lead at the time, a lead they eventually squandered in a devastating 28-24 loss.
3. One-handed catch vs. New York Jets, Oct. 7, 2013: Jones, sprinting down the left sideline and flanked by cornerback Antonio Cromartie, got a few steps ahead, extended his left arm and made a falling, one-handed catch in front of Cromartie for a 46-yard gain. Jones didn't appear to trash talk the always mouthy Cromartie, but the intense stare Jones gave spoke volumes. This was the same Week 5 game during which Jones suffered a season-ending foot fracture.
4. An 81-yard, catch-and-run touchdown vs. St. Louis Rams, Sept. 15, 2013: Jones established a career-long play when he caught a Matt Ryan pass in stride at his own 44-yard line, and then sprinted 56 more yards for the score. Jones shook off cornerback Janoris Jenkins' futile attempt to take out his legs. The longest pass completion in Falcons history, by the way, is a 98-yard touchdown hookup between Bobby Hebert and Michael Haynes (1993).
5. Acrobatic, 40-yard score vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 18, 2014: Jones used his blazing speed to get four or five steps ahead of Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner, then Jones contorted his body to make a breathtaking, over-the-shoulder grab while falling into the end zone. It happened on a night everything went right for the Falcons in a 56-14 blowout victory.