Watch: NFL Network says Titans A.J. Brown ready for Julio Jones status

Julio Jones Tennessee Titans A.J. Brown (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Julio Jones Tennessee Titans A.J. Brown (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Is Titans WR A.J. Brown the next Julio?

If you have listened to Tennessee Titans WR A.J. Brown talk about his favorite athletes, you will know that he is a huge fan of his friend D.K. Metcalf, and basically any wide receiver that played at Alabama.

Specifically though, A.J. Brown talks about how much he enjoyed watching Julio Jones growing up. A not-so-subtle nod to that is Brown’s #11 jersey, the same number that Jones wears for the Atlanta Falcons.

That is why you have to imagine that he loves what the “Good Morning Football” crew said on NFL Network recently.

As they were ranking their top-10 breakout stars of 2020, they chose A.J. Brown as the young player on offense most likely to break out, and they did it with lofty praise. It was so flattering that the Tennessee Titans own social media accounts clipped it up and posted it:

Peter Schrager does a great job explaining why A.J. Brown set the world on fire after the Titans switched quarterbacks (and made the wise and ultimately cheap move to keep Ryan Tannehill locked up). At the end, he even talks about the ceiling for Brown this season being a claim as the AFC’s best receiver and top-5 in the NFL.

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We have talked at length about the regression that Ryan Tannehill and this offense could face, but let’s look logically at the other side of this.

The Titans didn’t invest in any help at wide receiver this offseason and doubled down on the trio of Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries being enough to power the receiving game. What if Arthur Smith and the Tennessee offense get a healthy year from that trio?

Assuming Jonnu Smith adds all of Delanie Walker’s targets (a whopping 78 targets between the two) and Kalif Raymond sees more targets as the WR4, that still leaves about 75 targets unaccounted for.

(Boring math warning) So splitting that up between the WRs based on their usage when they were healthy that means that A.J. Brown like he did last year with just those extra targets sprinkled in, could have a stat line like this:

2020: A.J. Brown projection: 75 catches on 140 targets, 1,792 yards (based on his 12.8 yards per target with Tannehill and the increased attention)

Now, there is just no way that this tandem is that efficient in 2020, but that still leaves so much room for Brown to be great even if there is regression. This is what Julio Jones put up in his second season for reference:

2012 Julio Jones 79 catches on 128 targets, 1,198 yards

If A.J. Brown just has an average season by his (admittedly lofty) standards, then this is the floor for him. When your floor is to be on track to put up better numbers than Julio Jones, you deserve to be mentioned as a potential breakout star.