NFL Rookie Watch: Julio Jones
Good things come with a price. For the Atlanta Falcons, the right to select Alabama's Julio Jones required a down payment of five draft picks -- two first rounders, a second rounder and two fourth round selections -- and what's expected to be a sizable financial commitment. Still, it was worth the investment for team officials. Said general manager Thomas Dimitroff, "We talked all offseason about becoming more explosive offensively ... this is about continuing to build confidence in this team, build confidence in the firepower of an offense that believe is headed in the right direction. An aggressive move for us, but one we felt was right at this time in the stage of our development."
In short, the goods were simply too good for Atlanta to ignore.
At the combine, Jones ran a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash, registered a 38.5-inch vertical, and posted the best broad jump (135.0) of any receiver prospect -- jaw-dropping numbers for a 6-foot-4, 220-pound receiver. He possesses a chiseled physique like T.O. and seems comfortable working every route in the playbook.
For three seasons Jones had SEC coaches wiping sweat from their brows; now the idea of Matt Ryan throwing moon balls to Jones has NFC South opponents concerned. It should have fantasy owners drooling ...
Bryant added a big, physical presence to Dallas' arsenal and took flight by midseason before an injury shortened his rookie campaign. Jones is bigger, faster and every bit as explosive.