In Hindsight, It Was Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones, And The Atlanta Falcons Picked The Wrong Guy
Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson?
Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones?
In so many ways, they're the same future Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver, but you know what?
When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons, I'm going with Johnson over Jones, and I hear what you're saying . . .
Didn't Johnson retire five NFL seasons ago from the Detroit Lions, and isn't Jones still going to Pro Bowls for the Falcons, with no end in sight?
Yep, but here's the rest of the story.
Five months before the 2007 NFL Draft, I wrote a column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution urging the Falcons to pull a Michael Vick . . . you know, trade draft picks to jump from No. 10 overall to No. 1 or No. 2 to snatch Johnson, the hometown boy in his final season as a college megastar in Atlanta at Georgia Tech.
It was a no-brainer.
Well, so I thought, especially since the Falcons had 11 picks, tied for the most of any team for that particular draft.
The Falcons did trade up.
(Imagine me shaking my head).
In a deal that sent Falcons backup Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans, the two teams swapped first-round picks to put the Falcons at No. 8, where they drafted Jamaal Anderson, the noted bust of a defensive end.
The Lions made Johnson the No. 2 pick overall, and he spent nine years sprinting toward Canton before he retired after the 2015 season at 30. He likely had five, seven, who knows how many years left to shine at a high level?
He just didn't want to play for the Lions anymore.
If the Falcons did what they should have done in that 2007 draft, Johnson still would be happy and vibrant as an NFL stud in Atlanta while heading into this season at 35.
Which means the Falcons wouldn't have completed one of the worst trades in NFL history by sending five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns for the sixth pick overall in the 2011 NFL Draft to grab Jones.
Which means 28-3 wouldn't have happened . . . maybe.
I'll explain in this version of Saving The Falcons.
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