Jones was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons sixth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. With the Falcons, Jones has been invited to seven Pro Bowls, was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015 and 2016 after leading the league in receiving yards and receptions. Jones was also named second-team All-Pro three times, in 2017, in 2018 after leading the league in receiving yards, and in 2019. Since entering the league, Jones has amassed more receiving yards than any other player.
Jones has a rare combination of size (6 ft 3 in and 220 lbs), speed (40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds), catching ability, strength, leaping ability, and body control. On November 11, 2018, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. On September 15, 2019, Jones became the all-time career receiving yards leader for the Falcons. On October 5th, 2020, Jones became the all-time career receptions leader for the Falcons. His career average of 96.1 receiving yards per game is the highest in NFL history. Due to these accolades and accomplishments, Jones is regarded as the best wide receiver of his generation, and one of the greatest receivers of all time.
In addition to football, Jones was a starter on the basketball team and was a standout track athlete. He was the state champion in the long jump (24-2 or 7.40m) and triple jump (47-5 or 14.52m) in both 2006 and 2007. He was named the 2006-07 Gatorade T&F Athlete of the Year in the state of Alabama. He was the state champion in the high jump (6-6 or 1.98m) during the 2007 indoor season. He was named All-county selection in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He won Mr. Alabama Track & Field athlete of the year in 2007. He also competed as a sprinter in 2008, and posted a personal-best time of 11.13 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the Class 6A Section 1 Meet, where he placed second.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jones was listed as the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation in 2008.
In the first of three years on the Crimson Tide, Jones quickly became an impact player and a fan favorite under head coach Nick Saban. Jones became the first true freshman wide receiver ever to start in a season opener for the Crimson Tide, as he started against the Clemson Tigers in the 2008 Chick-fil-A College Kickoff. In the game, Jones caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown in a 34-10 rout. In a 41-30 win over the #3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs, Jones had a breakout performance as he caught five passes for 94 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception from John Parker Wilson. His first 100-yard receiving game occurred in the annual rivalry game versus Tennessee, as Jones had six receptions for 103 yards en route to a 29-9 victory. However, two weeks later versus #16 LSU, Jones topped his previous performance with seven catches for 128 yards. His 23-yard reception in overtime set up a game-winning touchdown by John Parker Wilson, giving Alabama a 27-21 victory. In the 2008 SEC Championship Game, Jones caught five passes for 124 yards versus a talented Florida Gators secondary. In the first quarter, Jones caught a 64-yard pass which set up the Crimson Tide's first score of the game. However, #1 Alabama fell to #2 Florida by a score of 31-20, giving the Crimson Tide their first loss of the year. Jones finished his freshman season leading all receivers on the Crimson Tide with 58 receptions for 924 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.
On December 8, the Southeastern Conference announced the annual All-SEC first team, second team, and individual awards, as voted by the Associated Press. Jones was named to the second team All-SEC, SEC Freshman of the Year, and the SEC Coaches' All-Freshman Team. Jones finished the regular season with 58 receptions, 924 yards, and four touchdowns. His performance in only his freshman year drew comparisons to NFL greats. ESPN.com reported, "This guy is a unique, rare prospect for the wide receiver position with his supreme blend of size, power, speed and agility. He reminds us of a high school version of Michael Irvin, but at this stage Jones is more explosive and faster." An NFL scout put Jones in the same category as Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who at the time was the second-leading receiver in the NFL.
Preceding the 2009 football season, Jones was voted to the All-SEC Coaches' Football Team (first team), one of only four players to be voted such unanimously along with Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Tennessee safety Eric Berry, and LSU offensive lineman Ciron Black.
Jones in a game against Arkansas in 2010
Jones and Alabama again opened their season at the Georgia Dome, this time facing #7 Virginia Tech for the 2009 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. However, the Crimson Tide's rushing game dominated the game, led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner and teammate, Mark Ingram. Jones finished the game with four receptions for 46 yards, with Alabama winning the game 34-24. His first touchdown of the season would not come until September 26, as the Tide routed the Arkansas Razorbacks 35-7 in Tuscaloosa. Jones caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Greg McElroy, coming from a trick play, to put Alabama up 14-0 midway through the first quarter. He would finish the game with two catches for 65 yards.
After experiencing what some writers called a "sophomore slump", Jones's production increased during the second half of the 2009 season. In a game against #9 rivalry game against LSU, Jones had his only 100-yard performance of the season. He finished with four catches for 102 yards, including a 73-yard game-winning touchdown in Alabama's 24-15 victory. In the annual Iron Bowl game against rival Auburn, Jones was instrumental in capping a come-from-behind victory, catching three crucial third-down passes in an 8-minute, 80-yard drive that fans call "The Drive" to set up running back Roy Upchurch's game-winning touchdown in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
Alabama continued through the regular season undefeated at 12-0, working their way to a SEC Championship matchup with the #1 Florida Gators. Jones made the first catch of the game, an 18-yard catch from McElroy. The Crimson Tide won the game 32-13, earning a chance to play for the BCS National Championship in the 2010 title game against the #2 Texas Longhorns. His 23 yards receiving led the Tide in the title game, as the passing game struggled. However, the running game again took over for 205 total rushing yards and led Alabama to a 37-21 victory.
Jones started his junior season with a solid performance against San Diego State with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown in the 48-3 victory. Two weeks later, Jones had five receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown in a 62-13 victory over Duke. On October 9, in a conference game against #19 South Carolina, Jones had eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in the Crimson Tide's 35-21 loss to the Gamecocks. On October 23, Jones torched the Tennessee Volunteers for 221 yards on 12 receptions, which were good for collegiate career highs in both, in a 41-10 victory at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. On November 6, Jones had 10 receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown in a 24-21 loss to #12 LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One week later, Jones was held to only three receptions for 41 yards in a 30-10 victory over Mississippi State but had a 56-yard rushing touchdown in the victory. In the following game, against Georgia State, he recorded his first collegiate game with two receiving touchdowns in the 63-7 victory. On November 26, in the Iron Bowl against #2 Auburn, Jones had ten receptions for 199 yards and a touchdown, but the Crimson Tide lost to the Tigers by a score of 28-27. The Crimson Tide reached a bowl game, which was Jones's final collegiate game. In the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State, Jones had three receptions for 49 yards and 36 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 49-7 victory.
Jones ended his junior season with an Alabama record 78 catches and 1,133 yards along with seven touchdowns (fourth in school history). In addition, he had eight rushes for 135 yards and two touchdowns along with five punt returns for 44 yards and five kickoff returns for 129 yards. Jones ended his Alabama career second in career receptions (179) and yards (2,653) in school history and fourth in touchdown catches (15). He had eight career 100-yard receiving games (second in school history). Jones was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2010.
Jones playing for the Atlanta Falcons against the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the 2012 NFL playoffs
On January 7, 2011, Jones decided to forego his senior season of college football. Instead, he chose to declare eligibility for the NFL Draft with teammates Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy, and Marcell Dareus. Jones was later invited to the "All-Star Football Challenge", a skill contest shown by ESPN on February 4. He excelled at the 2011 NFL Combine, posting the longest long jump and the third fastest 40-yard dash among wide receivers, despite having a broken bone in his foot.
Jones came to terms with the Atlanta Falcons on July 28, 2011, signing a four-year contract worth $16.2 million, all of which was guaranteed. His NFL debut came against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. In the 30-12 loss, he had five receptions for 71 yards. In Week 4, against the Seattle Seahawks, he had 11 receptions for 127 yards in the 30-28 victory for his first game going over the century mark. He recorded his first two NFL touchdowns on Week 9 of the 2011 season, against the Indianapolis Colts in a 31-7 victory. Jones's first touchdown was a 50-yard reception from quarterback Matt Ryan in the first quarter, and the second touchdown was an 80-yard reception from Ryan in the second quarter. After having quiet games against the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, Jones bounced back against the Houston Texans with four receptions for 68 yards in the 17-10 loss. Jones finished his rookie season strong by combining for 393 receiving yards and six touchdowns over the last four games of the regular season. He finished the season leading all rookies in touchdown receptions with eight, while his 54 receptions for 959 yards ranked him second among rookies in yards and touchdowns, behind A. J. Green, of the Cincinnati Bengals and third in catches behind Green and Greg Little, of the Cleveland Browns. He was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team for the 2011 season.
Jones started his second professional season against the Kansas City Chiefs with six receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the 40-24 victory. On October 28, against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8, Jones had five receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown in the 30-17 victory. The following week, he backed up his performance against the Eagles with five receptions for 129 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in the 19-13 victory. On October 25, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones had six receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown in the 24-23 victory in Week 12. On December 16, against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, Jones had six receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-0 victory in Week 15.
Jones started the 2013 season with a solid performance against the New Orleans Saints with seven receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown in the 23-17 loss. The following week, Jones had 11 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown against St. Louis. Over the next two games, Jones continued his hot streak with a 115-yard performance against the Miami Dolphins and a 108-yard performance against the New England Patriots. However, on October 7, 2013, Jones fractured his foot in the Week 5 Monday Night Football loss to the New York Jets and would be out for the season. In that last game, he had eight receptions for 99 yards. Despite only playing five games due to injury, Jones still managed to finish 76th in receiving yards among 458 qualified players for the 2013 season.
On April 29, 2014, the Falcons accepted the fifth-year option of Jones's rookie contract, extending his obligations with the team through the 2015 season.
Jones started the 2014 season with a seven-reception, 116-yard performance against the Saints at the Georgia Dome. He caught his first touchdown of the season the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the next game, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football, Jones had nine receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the 56-14 victory. Over the next few weeks, Jones would string some solid performances together, but no touchdowns. However, on November 30, Jones set a new career-high with 189 receiving yards on 10 receptions in the 29-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The following week on Monday Night Football, he once again broke his single game receiving record, recording 259 yards on 11 receptions in a 43-37 loss to the Green Bay Packers. In the loss, Jones recorded the fourth most receiving yards in a Monday Night Football game. He finished the season with 104 receptions for 1,593 yards, first in the NFC in both categories and third in the entire NFL. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the 2014 season. He was ranked 13th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2015.
Jones in 2015 training camp
On August 29, 2015, the Falcons signed Jones to a 5-year, $71.5 million extension with $47 million guaranteed.
Jones started the 2015 season with a strong performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. In the 26-24 victory, Jones had nine receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns to earn his first NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor. After a career-high 13 receptions for 135 yards in a 24-20 victory over the Giants in Week 2, Jones recorded a 164-yard and two-touchdown performance in the 39-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Jones was targeted a career-high 20 times in the victory. In Week 5, against the Washington Redskins, Jones had five receptions for 67 yards but scored an unusual touchdown on an offensive fumble recovery in the end zone in the 25-19 victory. On November 1, in a 23-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones had 12 receptions for 162 yards and one touchdown. After recording ten receptions for 137 yards in a performance in a 17-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers the following week, Jones recorded nine receptions for 160 yards in a 24-21 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. In Week 15, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones had nine receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The following week, Jones had nine receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown in a 20-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers to earn NFC Offensive Player of the Week. In the season finale, against the New Orleans Saints, Jones finished his historic season with nine receptions for 149 yards in the 20-17 loss.
Jones started the 2016 season with a four-reception, 66-yard, one-touchdown performance in a 31-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the last regular-season opener at the Georgia Dome. The following week, Jones had five receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown in a 35-28 road win over the Oakland Raiders. In Week 4, Jones caught 12 passes for a Falcons-record 300 yards and a touchdown in a 48-33 victory over the Carolina Panthers. His performance against the Panthers made Jones the sixth player in NFL history ever to have at least 300 receiving yards in a game. He earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week. In addition, Matt Ryan threw for 503 passing yards, making them the first quarterback/wide receiver duo to gain 500+ passing yards and 300+ receiving yards in a single NFL game. On October 16, in a 26-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Jones had seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. He followed up his performance against the Seahawks with a 174-yard performance in a 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers. On November 3, in the second game against Tampa Bay, Jones had eight receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. Against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 13, Jones had a 135-yard performance on ten receptions in the 24-15 loss.
Jones finished the 2016 season with 83 receptions on 129 targets for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns. His 17.0 yards per reception and 10.9 yards per target were career highs. Jones was selected to his third consecutive and fourth career Pro Bowl and was named First-team All-Pro for the second consecutive year. He was also ranked third by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 as the highest ranked wide receiver.
The Falcons made the playoffs in the 2016 season and had the #2 seed in the NFC. In the Divisional Round against the Seahawks, Jones had six receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown in the 36-20 victory at the Georgia Dome. In the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, Jones had nine receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the 44-21 victory. During Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots, Jones had four receptions for 87 receiving yards on only four targets as the Falcons lost in overtime by a score of 34-28. Late in the game, with the Falcons leading 28-20, Jones recorded a spectacular catch from Ryan to put the Falcons on the Patriots 22-yard line. However, a sack and a holding penalty caused the Falcons to lose field position and move out of field goal range.
On September 10, 2017, in the season opener against the Chicago Bears, Jones started the season with four receptions for 66 yards in the 23-17 victory. In Week 2, in the 34-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers, he had five receptions for 108 yards in the first game in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In Week 7, in a loss to the New England Patriots in a Super Bowl LI rematch, Jones recorded his first receiving touchdown of the 2017 season, a one-yard reception from Ryan. During Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jones had a monstrous performance with 12 receptions for 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns, of which one thrown from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu, as the Falcons won 34-20. His performance in Week 12 earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Jones became the first player in NFL history with three games with at least 250 receiving yards and the tenth to record three games with at least 200. On December 19, 2017, Jones was named to his fifth Pro Bowl. In the Week 17 regular season finale against the New Orleans Saints, he had seven receptions for 149 yards in the 23-13 loss.
Overall, he finished the 2017 season with 88 receptions for 1,444 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. The Falcons made the playoffs and faced off against the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round. Against the Rams, he had 94 receiving yards and a touchdown in the 26-13 victory. In the Divisional Round against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had 101 receiving yards but the Falcons lost by a score of 15-10. He was targeted in the endzone on the Falcons' final offensive play but the pass from Ryan went barely through his hands. He was ranked fourth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.
Jones in 2018
In the season-opener against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones recorded 10 receptions for 169 yards to go with an 11-yard rush in the 12-18 loss. In the loss, Jones became the first player in franchise history to record 40 games with at least 100 receiving yards, breaking his tie with Roddy White. In Week 4, he recorded nine receptions for 173 receiving yards in the 37-36 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In Week 6, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 10 receptions for 144 yards in the 34-29 victory. In Week 9 against the Washington Redskins, Jones caught seven passes for 121 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season. In Week 10, against the Cleveland Browns, Jones recorded seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. In that game, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards, accomplishing the feat in 104 games, beating out Calvin Johnson who took 115 games. In the following game, against the Dallas Cowboys, he had six receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in the loss. In Week 12, against the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving, he had 11 receptions for 147 yards in the 31-17 loss. In Week 14, against the Green Bay Packers, he had eight receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Jones eclipsed 1,400 yards and became the first player in NFL history to register five consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 yards. In Week 17, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 138 yards and a touchdown in the 34-32 win. On December 18, 2018, Jones was named to his sixth Pro Bowl, which he declined due to injury.
Jones finished the 2018 season with 113 receptions for a league-leading 1,677 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Jones was the only player during the 2018 season to average more than 100 receiving yards per game with 104.8 yards per game. Despite not recording a single touchdown reception during the first eight weeks of the season, Jones had eight touchdown catches in the final eight weeks of the season, the most out of any player during that span. He was ranked ninth by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019.
On September 7, 2019, Jones signed a three-year, $66 million extension with $64 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid wide receiver in the league.
In Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones had six receptions for 31 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season as the Falcons lost 12-28. In Week 2 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones recorded five receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns as the Falcons won 24-20. Jones' second touchdown occurred on fourth down with two minutes left in the game. On the play, quarterback Matt Ryan threw a short pass to Jones which he ran in for a 54-yard touchdown that ended up sealing a Falcons win. In this game, Jones became the Falcons all-time receiving yard leader, surpassing the record previously set by Roddy White. In Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, Jones caught eight passes for 128 yards and one touchdown as the Falcons lost 24-27. In Week 4, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards, doing so in 115 games, beating out Calvin Johnson who took 127 games. In Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks, Jones had 10 receptions for 152 yards in the 27-20 loss. Jones had to miss the Week 12 game against the New Orleans Saints due to a shoulder injury. In Week 15 against the San Francisco 49ers, Jones had a season-high 13 receptions for 134 receiving yards and two touchdowns, the latter of which was the game winner, in the 29-22 win. In Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones was targeted a career-high 20 times and recorded 10 receptions for a season-high 166 receiving yards as the Falcons won 24-12. In the game, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 12,000 career receiving yards, accomplishing the feat in 125 games, beating out Jerry Rice who took 142 games.
Jones finished the 2019 season with 99 receptions for 1,394 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. He finished second in the league in receiving yards and sixth in receptions. He earned his seventh career nomination to the Pro Bowl for his 2019 campaign, but he elected not to go. Jones was ranked 11th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2020.
During Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, Jones caught nine of 12 targets for 157 receiving yards as the Falcons lost 25-38. He surpassed 800 career receptions during this game.
In Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, Jones recorded four catches for 32 yards in before exiting the game due to a hamstring injury during the 16-30 loss.
In that game, Jones became the Falcons all-time career receptions leader, surpassing the record previously set by Roddy White. In Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones had eight receptions for 137 receiving yards and his first two receiving touchdowns of the season during the 40-23 victory. In Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football, he had seven receptions for 137 receiving yards in the 25-17 victory.
reference.com/leaders/rec_yds_per_g_career.htm "NFL Receiving Yards per Game Career Leaders"] Check |url= value (help). Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved December 5, janery. line feed character in |url= at position 26 (help); Check date values in: |access-date= (help)