Alabama's Julio Jones stole the show at the NFL scouting combine. At 6-foot-3 and a rock-solid 220 pounds, he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, posted a 38½-inch vertical leap, and shined in receiving drills. His performance had some observers predicting he'd be the first wide receiver off the board in April's draft.
Before any team selects Jones, though, they need to take a close look at what he did on the field. In three seasons at Alabama, Jones didn't dominate the way a first-rounder should.
Predicting NFL success based on NCAA statistics is a tricky proposition. Many players perform in radically different environments from their peers, with extreme variances in surrounding talent, offensive scheme, quality of opposition and weather conditions. For several reasons, it's a lot easier to catch 50 passes at Texas Tech than it is at Georgia Tech. When we account for these factors, though, we find definite trends in collegiate numbers that forecast professional fortune.