Last April in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons made big waves by making a big trade with the Cleveland Browns to move up to take WR Julio Jones out of Alabama.
The Falcons gave up a boatload to get Jones. I was at the draft covering it for Arrowhead Addict and I was shocked at the time. I thought it was a colossally stupid trade and that the Falcons gave up way too much. After all, this was a receiver we were talking about, not a QB.
The Falcons moved from #27 to #6. To do so, they traded that 27th pick, as well as their second and fourth round picks in 2011 and first and fourth round picks in 2012.
Before making the move, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff called up his old friend Bill Belichick to ask his advice.
According to the book “War Room’’ by Michael Holley, Belichick told Dimitroff to stay at #27 and to draft, you guessed it, Jonathan Baldwin.
More after the jump.
We all know what happened next. Dimitroff decided to go for it and he got his man. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, also traded with the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland moved to the 21st spot to take DT Phil Taylor and the Chiefs slid back to #26 to take…yep, Jonathan Baldwin.
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Belichick obviously thought that the Falcons were going to give up too much to get Jones. He also must have thought pretty highly of Baldwin to recommend him as a comparable selection to Jones.
Jones has missed a couple of games with a hamstring injury this season, but he has been fairly productive for the Falcons when he has played. In five games, he has 25 catches for 358 yards and no touchdowns.
Meanwhile Baldwin, who has only played in two games, has six catches for 96 yards and one TD.
I think chances are both Jones and Baldwin will turn out to be very good NFL receivers. Both have great skill sets that should enable them to succeed. It will be interesting to see who ends up being better.
And if the difference between them will have been worth all those draft picks.