Last April, the Falcons shook up the draft board by jumping from No. 27 to No. 6, picking former Alabama receiver Julio Jones.
The Falcons gave up a lot to make the move, investing the 27th pick, a first-round pick in 2012 (No. 22 overall), a second-round pick in 2011, a fourth-round pick in 2011, and a fourth-round pick in 2012.
A year later, the Falcons don’t pick until No. 55, and they could use a first-rounder to replace the guy who currently wears No. 55 for the Falcons, defensive end John Abraham. Still, G.M. Thomas Dimitroff has no regrets.
“It’s something that I’ve said from the very beginning, our move and our desire to have Julio Jones on our team was something that we feel very, very comfortable with,” Dimitroff told reporters at the Scouting Combine. “We accomplished, in our minds, becoming more explosive. We also believe that we need to continue to grow as an offense and we will never look back on our move as being one that was overly expensive. It was something that we deemed was right for the organization at the time. Again, Julio was brought into our organization not for the here and now only, but for the future of the franchise.”
Jones definitely made an impact on the team in 2011, despite missing three games with a hamstring injury. And he could end up being one of the very best receivers in the league, as soon as 2012.
Regardless, Jones will always be compared to the players who were obtained by the Browns with the picks the Falcons surrendered, which include for now defensive lineman Phil Taylor (via a trade up with the Chiefs), receiver Greg Little, and running back Owen Marecic. Jones also will be compared to receiver Jonathan Baldwin, who was picked by the Chiefs in the slot the Falcons originally held last season.