Did the Falcons’ 2011 Draft Set the Team Back?
- Updated: July 29, 2013
We have all heard this question asked before. Did The Falcons give up too much in 2011 when they traded away 3 picks to grab Julio Jones in 2011. Well, lets take a closer look at what has happened since then, and you can decide for yourself. To get into the spirit of this debate, let’s do a little flashback to the 2011 draft. The Cleveland Browns have just traded the 6th overall pick of the 2011 draft to the Atlanta Falcons in return for their 1st, 2nd, and 4th round picks from the 2011 draft and their 1st and 4th round pick in 2012. With the number 6 over all selection the Atlanta Falcons select, WR Julio Jones. University of Alabama.
Every blog, draft expert, and Falcon fan was discussing this as soon as it happened. “WOW! They gave up their future for one player!” Fans loved it. Fans hated it.
Prior to the draft I had predicted the Falcons would make a big trade and go for A.J. Green at no.4 held by the Bengals. Well, the Falcons tried. They offered the same package to the Bengals, who declined. I can’t blame them. They drafted wide receiver A. J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton that year and have done a nice rebuilding job in Cincinnati. The Browns however, couldn’t resist such a loaded package deal. The Falcons got their big offensive playmaker.
An Arm and a Leg?
Did Falcons’ GM Thomas Dimitroff throw away the Falcons’ future to get the explosive offensive playmaker they wanted? Dimitroff went against the advice of his former mentor, Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick. He was told the cost was too great and that he should take wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin at no. 27. Dimitroff didn’t take that advice. He felt confidant in Julio Jones and pulled the trigger.
Let’s take a look at what it cost the Falcons. Who else they could have had in the top half of the draft, what players were taken with the picks they gave up, and what players were taken around their picks that they could have made a move to get. Lets take a look at what players the other teams selected with the picks Atlanta gave up shall we, shall we?
|2011||26||Kansas City||Jonathan Baldwin|
Well, if you go off that alone, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would rather have those players over Julio Jones. He is miles better than anyone on that list. I saw those names and took a deep breathe of relief. Then I looked at players around where they traded to get Jones. Specifically, I looked at players that would have filled a void we currently have and other WRs that were taken after the Falcons selected Jones. Dimitroff has been making big moves when he can so I feel this is relevant. Of course you can usually find how a team could have picked better after a few years, so this is a little easier to see after a draft is over.
I’ll assume since the Bengals didn’t accept the trade offer, the Falcons would not have been able to move higher than them. So here it is, players taken around pick. no.6 that would have filled a void the Falcons currently have:
|2011||7||San Fransisco||Aldon Smith|
|2011||24||New Orleans||Cameron Jordan|
How would the Falcons be sitting right now if they landed Aldon Smith or J.J. Watt? They probably would have had to give up their 2nd rounder still for everyone of those players except maybe Kerrigan and Jordan. If they could have gotten Kerrigan or Jordan, here are two WRs that would have been attainable in the 2nd round.
|2011||64||Green Bay||Randall Cobb|
The Browns selected Greg Little at no.59, but I think if the Falcons took one of those other players in the 1st round they might have tried to jump a few spots to take the speedy Smith who ran a 4.43 40 yard dash. If not, Randall Cobb would have been fine by me! Now, the Browns jumped to no.21 from 27 with the Chiefs and also gave up a 3rd rounder to do so. They selected DE Phil Taylor. He had a solid rookie year, but missed 8 games last year. It would have been cool if the Falcons did the same and selected someone like him or Cameron Jordan, then grabbed Smith or Cobb in the next round. If only we had a magical crystal ball on draft days…
Let’s look at what we could’ve done in 2012. To do this, we assume we kept our 1st round and 4th round pick. But, for the sake of argument, we’ll say we gave up our 4th rounder to move around a little still the prior year.
Browns selected QB Brandon Weeden at no.22. Well, we know that wouldn’t have been our choice. Who was around that area you ask? Honestly, I’m not crazy about a lot of the players around that part of the draft. The Panthers selected Luke Kuelchy at no. 9. I mean, Doug Martin was taken at 31, but the Falcon’s still had Turner before he imploded and had drafted Rodgers the year before in the 5th round (what a steal). 2nd round we chose C Peter Konz (our starter at C this year), taken 3 spots ahead of Lavonte David. As good as I think David is, Konz is a player we desperately need now. 3rd round we traded back and selected Laamar Holmes (also should be a starter this year). In the 4th round the Browns used our pick on ILB James-Michael Johnson…yeah, who? There is no other players in the near vicinity that would have really helped the Falcons then or now.
Bringing it All Together
This article really feels like I’m just talking about a lot of what-ifs. But, I felt it was necessary because people still question that wild 2011 draft by the Falcons, and it still is talked about on this very site. People tend to just see what we gave, and don’t generally look at what we could have gotten. To get the big picture, you have to look at who was taken, who was available, and what similar trades could have possibly been made. Heck, draft boards would look a lot different today for the 2011 draft than it did then. You can’t predict how rookies will pan out. Yeah, there might have been a better draft available for us. But, that’s a lot of what-ifs. The fact is Dimitroff made the move, and Julio is considered one of the best WRs in the league just two years in. He is the future of the Falcons offensive team, along with Ryan. It’s not like the Falcons haven’t made the playoffs since this draft pick, and I truly feel that if our future was given up for Julio, this would not be happening. The Falcons may have some glaring needs as it stands, but ask yourself, doesn’t every team? Julio has brought excitement here, and I for one am glad Dimitroff pulled the trigger on him. He’s a freak of nature that only comes around every few years.
Packers practice starts in 13 minutes.....
I might report a live update or two..... just a little bit...
how did i never see this until now?
Damn Toilolo is a big MF. https://vine.co/v/hALnbOVlOU5
Drew Magary has started his "Why Your Team Sucks" series. So far he's done Jags, Titans and Texans and they are funny as fuck.
looks like Banks is gonna start opposite of Revis hes been practicing with the first team D. Also said they have been running a lot of 3 Safety nickel packages with Barron playing a LB/ S role close to the LOS and Black playing back with Goldson
Eddie Lacy has admitted he's put on some weight.
"In Green Bay, Lacy admitted, he's been splurging too much on fast food. During off-season practices, he weighed in at 238 pounds, a high number that, believe it or not, might be kind.""
@50CaliberFalcon Look at the players taken at and just past the positions we traded to St. Louis.
30 - Alec Ogletree - LB
31 - Travis Frederick - C
32 - Matt Elam - S
33 - Johnathan Cyprien - S
34 - Justin Hunter - WR
35 - Zach Ertz - TE
36 - Darius Slay - CB
37 - Giovani Bernard - RB
38 - Manti Te'o - LB
39 - Geno Smith - QB
40 - Tank Carradine - DE
Of this group, I see only 2 the Falcons might have been insterested in: Carradine and Ogletree. Carradine was a possibility, but if we had stayed at 30 and Trufant and Rhodes were gone, we might have reached on Alford as well.
92 - Stedman Bailey - WR
93 - Will Davis - CB
94 - Brandon Williams - DT
95 - Sam Montgomery - DE
96 - Knile Davis - RB
97 - Zaviar Gooden - LB
98 - Matt Barkley - QB
99 - Nico Johnson - LB
100 - Akeem Spence - DT
101 - Ace Sanders - WR
102 - Josh Boyce - WR
No one really jumps out at me in this group, and honestly that's what you'd expect out of late 3rd and early fourth players. If we had kept this pick we might have gone with another D-Lineman, but I feel this pick was destined to be traded.
198 - Chris Jones - DT
199 - Theo Riddick - RB
200 - Kapron Lewis-Moore - DE
201 - Ryan Griffin - TE
202 - Khalid Wooten - CB
203 - Ryan Jensen - OT
204 - Branden Wilson - FB
205 - Stacy McGee - DT
206 - Vince Williams - LB
207 - Mike Catapano - DE
208 - Jeremy Harris - CB
A lot of these players will be fighting just to make their teams. There's a reason these picks are valued so low, late 6th and 7th rounders do not commonly become anything more than contributors in the NFL.
@JVince 11 hf talking to yourself then!
@JVince 11 rodgers is the best, wrs look good. lacy is fat, jones is huge and a gangsta, clay is beign lazy and the oline is shifting around. DONE
@JVince 11 did you see the report down below about Lacey
@andylet445 is that....and....
Can you imagine when him and Matt get on hte same page, Tony always raved about how matt can put the ball up high in just the right spot like no one he ever saw.
@rocketman6969 biggest in the league
@JohnWayneGacy The Clown where do you find that
@CONCHS333 Someone just say Black and Gold?
@rocketman6969 that's the only blurb you take out of that entire article? not the fact he has severe depression and could be a head case in the NFL but that he put on a few pounds?
@rocketman6969 how can you splurge fast food when youre in the NFL. SMH
Kid just aint got it and just think I wanted him bad. I have heard nothing but negative stuff about his commitment
I played with guys who are in the NFL now that would go out to eat at all you can eat buffets and would eat so long that they were asked to leave..
@CONCHS333 oh, going for more college plays i see.
the packers one is normally the best because Drew is a Vikings fan and his hatred is deep for my beloved team.