2011 NFL Draft: Falcons Sell the Farm, Make Monster Trade to Land Julio Jones
The Atlanta Falcons could not be more committed to winning big in 2011.
Despite having the 27th selection in the 2011, the Falcons traded up to the sixth overall pick to select Alabama wideout Julio Jones. Having quickly climbed draft boards, Jones emerged as a solid prospect, arguably the better option between him and Alabama's A.J. Green, picked fourth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. His aggressiveness, toughness, performance against top college cornerbacks, and stellar combine numbers are enough to tempt any team.
And they were certainly enough to tempt the Falcons, as they handed over two first, one second, and two fourth-round picks to jump into the top 10 of the draft. Selecting Jones gives quarterback Matt Ryan yet another marquis weapon in an already-dangerous offensive arsenal.
While another receiver is an encouraging sign for Ryan, no Falcons player should be happier with the selection than tight end Tony Gonzalez. Having left the Kansas City Chiefs in a trade two years ago, Gonzalez's primary motivation is to win a Super Bowl ring before he hangs up his cleats and calls it a career.
Conversely, Jones' drafting is an ill omen for former first-round pick Michael Jenkins. Jones and star receiver Roddy White will likely pair up as the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers for the FalconsDerek offense. And with Gonzalez, powerhouse running back Michael Turner, and Turner's lead blocker, fullback Ovie Mughelli, Jenkins will quickly see his snaps diminish as his role in Atlanta's offense dwindles.
Atlanta came within two games of making the Super Bowl last year. Considering the number of picks they paid for Jones, the Falcons must believe he'll be the difference to get them there.
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