BIRDLAND – Not only did the Falcons make a bold and aggressive move in terms of draft picks.
They will feel the trade up 21 spots to get Julio Jones in the wallet.
The difference between what the 27th and 6th picks were paid last season was a whopping $38.5 million.
Seattle took Oklahoma State tackle Russell Okung with the sixth pick last year. He signed a six-year contract that was worth $48.5 million. A total of $30 million of the deal was guaranteed.
New England chose Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty and signed him to a five-year, $10 million contract. A total of $7.825 million was guaranteed.
If the teams operate under the 2010 rules for this draft, Jones’ contract would be in the Okung range.
Now, if there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place soon with a rookie-wage scale, Jones’ contract could be significantly less.
Here are some excerpts from general manager Thomas Dimitroff’s chat with the media late last night:
TD: “First of all, we’re very pleased with our move. It was an aggressive bold move to get up from 27 to six, 21 spots. We knew that it was going to be an aggressive move and cost us and as an organization, we felt very strongly about the move up for a player that we believe truly adds the explosive, urgent athleticism that we were looking to improve on this team. We feel like Julio is a fine addition to our offense and will continue to help provide Matt [Ryan] with the tools that we need going forward as an offense and as a team.”
ON THE TRADE: “We’ve been talking about this over the last month. Mike and I have spent a lot of time analyzing the players throughout the draft, not only in the first round but throughout the draft. That’s obviously one of the things that played into us being aggressive, knowing that it was going to cost us in this year’s draft and in next year’s draft. Again, something that we were very comfortable with as an organization. We are very fortunate to have an owner in Arthur Blank who is generous. There aren’t that many owners who would be in favor of moving up as far as we did. Financially, it’s a bold move as well and we appreciate that from Arthur Blank. Again, we feel like Julio is going to be a fine addition to our offense and he is going to be worth the move that we made up to get him at six.”
ON THE COMPENSATION: “We obviously exchanged ones and then we gave up our second round and fourth round picks and then a future one and a future four as well. We all work from a certain chart and as you work from these charts from team to team, it was a draw. We both feel very comfortable. Both teams, Cleveland and us, felt very comfortable with what the compensation would be.”
ON HOW TOUGH IT WAS TO MAKE A DEAL WITHOUT INCLUDING PLAYERS AS COMPENSATION: “That’s been the most innovating side of this because you are obviously trying to come up with compensation that you feel is fair. That said, you aren’t able to talk and discuss trading players because it was all about draft picks in this year’s draft which was obviously different from other seasons. You really had to drill down and be focused on how you were
going to put together a compensation package. I think that it took a lot more conversation than it would have if you would have had players to discuss.”
ON A PERCEIVED DEVIATION FROM HIS DRAFT-FIRST PHILOSOPHY: “Not at all. It’s funny because I expected that question, especially from the Boston side of the building. Our feeling on this, again, is that where we are in the draft, where we were with our team and where we are with our roster, we’re still very young. We have a lot of guys that we have drafted over the last few years in the middle rounds who are still coming into their own and still developing. We felt like we needed to make a bold statement and add an impact type of player, while possibly giving up some picks in the middle rounds. We feel that we have a lot of players that satisfy our needs as backups and strong depth players so we wanted to go after a guy who we felt could be a serious impact type of player.”
WHY OFFENSE OVER DEFENSE: “I think going into this draft, we felt very strongly about and I’ve been very open about our need for explosiveness on the defensive side or on the offensive side. In our mind, the explosiveness that we were going to get with a player like Julio outweighed what we were going to get from a defensive player in the first round, hence the very aggressive move. We will never get away from the idea that we truly believe that if we see something that we want in terms of team builders we’re going to be aggressive and go after them. We felt that Julio, in light of what we need for this team to be aggressive, explosive and playmaking that he was the guy who fit the bill in the first round.”
ON RODDY WHITE’S ANTICIPATE REACTION: “We really felt that Roddy is such an accomplished football player and a through and through Pro Bowl football player. Our feelings were that he would take it as another step
towards helping his offense and our offense be better and more prolific. That was our approach to this. I really believe that Roddy wants to be successful and I feel as if this move with Julio will benefit Roddy a great deal as well.”
ON JONE’S INJURY HISTORY AND HISTORY OF DROPPED PASSES: “The injury, we’re definitely comfortable with that. Without getting into specifics, he’s healing up well from his foot injury. He obviously has played through injuries. He’s only missed one game in his career. He is a tough, very resilient guy and looking into his injury background, they weren’t injuries that were of concern to us. I believe that in this league, there are going to be drops. There are going to be drops at every level, if you’re picked one overall or number 21 overall. A lot of the receivers who are competitive receivers in my mind who are turning up field and trying to make plays who are thinking about the next step are going to have drops. Some of the best players in the League obviously have those drops. He has 10-inch hands. He’s got very big hands. He’s got excellent hands. He can snatch the ball all around his body. We’ve seen it, we’re very comfortable with that and he’ll continue to work on his concentration and his getting up field and making sure that he secures the ball just like any of our receivers do. That was not a concern of ours.”
ON COMPARING JONES TO A.J. GREEN: “I think both of those players are obviously very talented. They are players that can come into a team in the NFL and contribute very effectively right away. They are different in a sense. They are both very fast and very competitive. One’s a little bit bigger in being 6’2.5’’ and 220 versus A.J. who was about an inch taller but about 205 or 210. It’s a little bit of a different physical makeup and we were comfortable coming away in the early part of that round with either of the two players.”
ON WHEN THEY DECIDED THEY NEEDED AN OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER: “I believe that we have said from 2008 when we drafted Matt third overall that we were going to continue to provide as much firepower for him and for this offense as we could within reason, obviously. We feel that this is within reason. It’s about continuing to emphasize how important it is for us to be a very explosive and productive offense. We obviously went after Matt third overall and we expected big things out of him. We continue to expect big things out of this offense. As I mentioned earlier, we weighed both sides on offense and defense and we felt that the explosiveness that we would get out of Julio would outweigh what we could get out of the defensive side of the ball at this point of the draft.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog