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  1. At first blush, I was against the move last year to trade up and get Julio. I felt like we gave up a little too much. I thought the 1st, 2nd and 4th in 2011 and 1st in 2012 was about right - felt like giving up the 2012 4th rounder was a little overkill - having said that, the difference in kicking in the extra 4th rounder is not HUGE. One thing others do when analyzing this trade is look at the players the Browns drafted with the Falcons draft picks - this seems silly to me though because the Falcons would have drafted different players in those spots. The only player we know for certain the Falcons would have drafted would have been the Wisconsin Offensive Tackle - Gabe Carimi (who was ultimately selected by the Bears at #26 overall last year). The reason we know this is because Thomas Dimitroff said that is who the Falcons would likely have drafted had we stayed put in the pick. It is unknown if Falcons would have tried Carimi out a left tackle (where he played in college) or simply placed Carimi at right tackle and not re-signed Tyson Clabo - too many variables to figure out. Just for fun, thought it would be interesting to try and GUESS what the Falcons would have done. Clearly, in hindsight, it looks like a GREAT move to trade-up for Julio - assuming he stays healthy - he should have an awesome career w/ Falcons. Here is my guess of what the Falcons might have done - and "yes", I looked at draft results in 2011/2012 to see who would have been available at Falcons picks: 2011 Draft: 1st - Gabe Carimi, OT-Wisconsin - He has been nicked up a lot in Chicago an has had an undistinguished rookie year. I still think he will be a decent player but appears to be more of a right tackle and generally you don't want to draft right tackles in the 1st round. 2nd - Greg Little, WR-North Carolina - This guy's college tape looked really, really good and he appeared to be an explosive player. However he had some off-field issues and I'm not sure if he would have passed the Falcons filter. Supposedly the Falcons were very interested in small Troy WR - Jerrell Jernigan - who is a Harry Douglas-type - only faster - but Jernigan lasted to the 3rd round where the NY Giants took him. I am not certain at all that the Falcons would have taken Little but this is my best guess. Little had an OK rookie season but has not shown yet that he can be a difference-maker in NFL. Another guy that the Falcons could have drafted in 2nd round was Georgia DE - Justin Houston - who has looked decent but not great so far. Houston tested positive for mary-jane before the NFL combine so he dropped to third round and the Chiefs. Considering that Dimitroff's mentor (Scott Pioli) took Houston in 3rd round, would not have suprised me if he would have been the pick for Dimitroff in 2nd round. 4th - Jacquizz Rodgers, RB-Oregon State - Falcons ended up getting Rodgers anyway moving up in the 5th round to nab Quizz. Probably would have taken him in the 4th round had they kept this pick. 2012 Draft: 1st - Whitney Mercilus, DE-Illinois - again, way too many factors to accurately predict this pick and this is just a hunch. Falcons still don't have a DE prospect with a really high ceiling on the team right now and Mercilus has the prototype size (6'3" 261) and quicks to get the job done. Selected by the Houston Texans who have a track record of recognizing "Edge Rusher" talent. 4th - Brandon Boykin, CB-Georgia - seems like a logical pick as Boykin has the speed/athleticism to play nickel corner and is a PLUS player for returning punts and kickoffs. Analysis: OFFENSIVE LINE: I think our Offensive Line would have stayed about the same as I think Clabo leaves with the drafting of Carimi and he plays right tackle - Advantage: PUSH WIDE RECEIVER: I think Greg Little is a major step down from Julio Jones. I was in love with Greg Little before the draft and thought the difference between the two players was smaller than it actually turned out to be. I think Julio is more talented but the biggest difference is Julio is a harder worker willing to do what it takes to be great. - Advantage: FAVORS JULIO TRADE DEFENSE: The major detraction in my estimation to the Julio trade is the lack of defensive talent. Clearly the Falcons would likely have used some of these picks for a pass rusher and a cornerback. Advantage: FAVORS NO TRADE Ultimately there is a good chance the players I selected for Falcons above or ones the Falcons would have selected - some likely would have been busts - also, some might not be busts but just be "another average player". Ultimately succesful NFL teams have STAR players and mix-n-match average guys to play their roles in team concept with solid schemes, etc. to win games. The Packers 2010 SuperBowl victory is a perfect example. They had their star players stay healthy, had a lot of the average guys go down in injuries, brought in average back-ups, coached them up and won a SuperBowl. VERDICT: Julio Jones is a straight-up star. If he stays healthy, then this trade is likely a winner for the Falcons and a great move by Thomas Dimitroff.. Feel free to offer up your own selections of what the Falcons might have done......but it should start with Carimi since Dimitroff has already said this was the pick.
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