The NFL Draft is this week, and the wild reports about what might happen or not happen are coming fast and furious. One out this morning that's kind of interesting is the possibility of the Falcons trading Julio Jones. There's some degree of logic to it.
The speculation comes from Peter King's Monday morning football column. Neither here nor there but I'm not a huge fan of King. I used to be, and one has to respect someone who's climbed to the top of their chosen profession, but I think he got a little full of himself over the years, and too comfortable talking about what his favorite Starbucks drink or TV show is.
Anyway, in talking about possible surprises he mentions Atlanta trading Jones. One reason this makes sense to me is that if the Falcons stay and make a pick at 1.04, tight end Kyle Pitts is a popular prediction, and there's been some talk of wide receiver JaMarr Chase as well. Either pick would give the Falcons one of the best pass catchers in the draft, which makes a lot more sense on a team that only has Calvin Ridley out there as a top receiving talent, not as much on one that has Jones. If the Falcons were to select Chase or to a lesser extent Pitts, a Julio Jones trade might not be far behind.
Jones just turned 32 and missed 7 games last season due to injury. Many teams will certainly look at that and shy away, but there are plenty of coaches who will get starry-eyed at the possibility of acquiring one of the game's truly dominant pass catchers of the pass decade. He's been pretty awesome.
Since entering the league in 2011, Jones has seven 1,000-yard seasons, most notably going over 1,400 receiving yards in five straight years (2014-2018). That includes two of the top 15 fantasy seasons by a wide receiver over the past decade, and three of the top 40.
|TOP WIDE RECEIVER SEASONS, 2011-2020|
I'm not sure what the Falcons will do at 1.04; they've been a little wishy-washy, I think, this offseason. They restructured Matt Ryan's contract, making it a near-lock he'll be on the roster at least the next two seasons, which implies they think they're contenders. That would seem to work against trading Jones. But there have been whispers they could draft a quarterback at 1.04, which suggests more of a rebuild. In that chase, trading away Jones makes sense.
Just one of the more of the intriguing elements on this year's draft, which is fortunately just a few days away.