When the Falcons executed a trade that allowed them to draft Julio Jones, the cost was, in a word, immense. It took five draft choices, including two first-rounders, to secure the No. 6 overall selection in 2011.
The Falcons would have undoubtedly used those selections in different ways, but it is worth noting that Cleveland failed to strike gold with any of the picks it acquired from Atlanta. And Jones, of course, has turned into a superstar.
Considering every element of the deal, it's clear that rolling the dice paid off for the Falcons. So clear that NFL Network's Gil Brandt believes that Atlanta, despite the enormous sacrifice it made, actually got tremendous value for the Pro Bowl wide receiver.
"In the end, the multiple draft picks Atlanta gave up for the right to select the ultra-athletic Jones almost looks cheap, given the Randy Moss-type impact he has on the field," Brandt said. "Jones has put up an impressive 240 catches for 3,464 yards over the past two seasons despite everyone keying on him and double-teaming him."
Brandt made this comment while constructing the perfect wide receiver for NFL.com. The former Dallas Cowboys executive picked Jones' big-play ability — not surprising given his penchant for hauling in game-changing catches.
"A big-play receiver makes significant contributions in tough situations, enabling his team to keep drives alive. You need to be an athlete, you need to be competitive, you need to have all the traits we cover here — and you also need to know how to perform when it counts," Brandt said. "I don't think anybody comes close to Jones' ability to make big plays; consider that 2015's receiving yards leader has posted a whopping 56 receptions of 20-plus yards over the past two seasons."