On the NFL Rhodes Show with Lindsay Rhodes, Thomas Dimitroff said that he doesn’t regret making the trade back in 2011 that netted Julio Jones, but he wouldn’t have done it six years later.
Atlanta was slotted to pick 27th that year, and Dimitroff moved up 21 spots in a swap with the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons gave up their first-round pick that year along with their second and fourth-round picks in 2011. They gave up their first and fourth-round picks in the 2012 draft as well. With those selections, the Browns selected defensive lineman Phil Taylor, fullback Owen Marecic, and quarterback Brandon Weeden. They packaged one of the picks in 2012 to trade up for Trent Richardson.
In hindsight, the Browns got absolutely fleeced in this trade. We all know the incredible accolades that Julio has accumulated, but none of the players Cleveland selected had any success in the NFL. Weeden was on the Texans roster in 2018 but was only active for one game. None of the others made it past the 2014 season.
Dimitroff said the Falcons were in a much different situation as an organization in 2011 than in 2017, particularly their standing with the league’s salary cap. But the 2010 season and the 2016 season weren’t so different. Both years, Atlanta had great success, ultimately losing in the divisional round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in 2010, and we all know what happened in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.
In reality, the trade gave the Browns plenty of draft capital to help their rebuilding franchise, but the organization didn’t capitalize. Although Julio Jones is one of the greatest receivers of all time, he can only be so impactful in winning games.
The Falcons won the trade. However, there is a question on if they should have made the trade. The team gave up five picks for a wide receiver. While Jones has been extremely impactful, five picks is a lot to give up for a non-quarterback.