The Atlanta Falcons wanted to move up in round one to get a big-play receiver. They tried to get to No. 4, so that they could add A.J. Green. The Bengals said, “No thanks.”
Two spots later, the Browns pounced.
Two days later, Holmgren expressed satisfaction with the decision. “It was absolutely the right thing to do for our team at this particular time,” Holmgren said Saturday, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “The trade was kind of an amazing trade when you count it up. Next year we’ve got a one and a four and it’s what we needed.”
Regardless of the draft trade chart or any other device used for comparing picks, our reaction to the move was visceral. Is there a receiver currently in the NFL for whom a team would or should give up two first-round draft picks, a second-round pick, and two fourth-round draft picks? Maybe Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson.
Last year, Brandon Marshall fetched a pair of second-round picks for the Broncos. And that arguably was too much. Apart from Fitzgerald or Johnson, there’s no proven receiver for whom so much should be sacrificed.
The Falcons nevertheless were willing to invest two firsts, two fourths, and a second to get either Green or Jones. That’s significantly more than what it would take to sign a non-exclusive franchise player, like Vincent Jackson.
Though the Falcons may eventually be vindicated, they gave up a lot for an unproven player. And it puts a lot of pressure on the player and the organization to prove that the right move was made.