The Falcons made the biggest splash in the first round on Thursday night when they traded five picks to the Browns in order to select Alabama receiver Julio Jones at No. 6 overall. What’s interesting is that Jones wasn’t even the player they wanted the most.
According to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Falcons attempted to trade with the Bengals at No. 4 in order to select Georgia receiver A.J. Green. But the Bengals, who had Green rated as the No. 1 player on their board, rejected the same offer that Atlanta turned around and handed to Cleveland for the No. 6 pick.
Granted, this doesn’t mean that the Falcons didn’t want Jones. Obviously they did or else they wouldn’t have traded five picks to the Browns, including their first rounder in 2012. But again, it’s interesting that Green was ahead of Jones and they wound up giving up a small fortune in picks to get the guy they had second on their board (or maybe Green was 1A and Jones was 1B – whatever, you get the point).
Either way, GM Thomas Dimitroff got the impact player that he coveted. He knows that the Falcons are built to win now and maybe they’re on the cusp of a Super Bowl. The Packers made it clear in the playoffs last year that the Falcons were lacking another receiver opposite Roddy White that could stretch the field and now they have one in Jones. Obviously if Jones is a bust, this could wind up setting the Falcons back for years. But teams assume that risk any time they make a trade like this. Jones was worth it to Dimitroff and Atlanta, so they paid the price to get him.