Culliver rates Falcons' Jones ahead of White

Culliver rates Falcons' Jones ahead of White
January 17, 2013, 10:15 am
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The Falcons selected Julio Jones No. 6 overall in the 2011 draft. The 49ers selected Culliver No. 80 overall in the same draft. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SANTA CLARA -- Cornerback Chris Culliver, who played against wide receiver Julio Jones a couple times in college, rates his former SEC rival ahead of Atlanta Falcons teammate Roddy White.

White had 92 receptions for 1,351 yards and seven touchdowns this season for the Falcons, while Jones caught 79 passes for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Culliver, who played at South Carolina, played against Alabama twice when Jones was in college.

"He's a good receiver," Culliver said. "He's a good receiver."

When asked if he won some and lost some, Culliver answered, "I don't lose too many battles. I was always in the winning category, but he's a good receiver."

South Carolina and Alabama split the two meetings in which both Culliver and Jones played. In 2010, Jones sustained a fractured hand in the first half and continued to play. He caught eight passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in a game South Carolina won. The previous year, Jones was held without a catch for the only time that season in an Alabama victory over South Carolina.

The Falcons traded up to select Jones No. 6 overall in the 2011 draft. The 49ers selected Culliver in the third round with the 80th overall selection.

"He's not real physical, but he'll compete and battle when the ball is in the air, like anybody else," Culliver said of Jones, who is listed at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds.

Culliver sees a lot of action as the 49ers' third cornerback. He lines up at left cornerback when the 49ers go with five defensive backs, with Carlos Rogers moving inside to cover the slow receiver. Culliver said he'll be covering both White and Jones, who wears No. 11.

"Eleven is better than Roddy because he can come out of breaks," Culliver said. "Julio can come out of breaks quicker than Roddy. Roddy is a good receiver. He can compete when the ball's in the air, too. They're good. But it ain't nothing I haven't seen before."

After the 2011 draft, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke referenced Culliver's matchups against Jones and A.J. Green, the fourth overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Did he shut them down? No," Baalke said. "But the thing we liked is he stepped up and wasn't afraid to compete."

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