Atlanta Falcons: How Belichick Almost Cost Us Julio Jones


The 2011 draft day trade Thomas Dimitroff pulled off to get all pro Julio Jones has been well documented. Dimitroff was looking for a wide receiver in the draft in an attempt to get Matt Ryan a legitimate third target to throw to, along with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. That draft just happened to have two stud SEC receivers declaring in Julio Jones out of Alabama and AJ Green out of Georgia, and Dimitroff had his eye on both of them.

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The Atlanta Falcons’ General Manager was eager to trade into the top 10 in an attempt to get one of these studs: he initially contacted the Bengals and made a trade offer for the 4th pick but was rebuffed. It was later reported that Dimitroff’s first choice was AJ Green who ended up getting taken with that 4th pick, and that the Bengals felt Atlanta’s trade offer was just not enough to pull the trigger.

The savy GM ended up dealing for the Cleveland Browns’ 6th overall pick as consolation: he traded an extra first, second, and two fourth round picks for the right to swap 2011 first rounders with the other Ohio team. Dimitroff ended up taking Julio Jones with the pick, and succeeded in bolstering the receiving corps.

One part of the story that never really gets told, however, is the backroom phone call TD made before pulling the trigger. He called longtime mentor and Patriots Head Coach/General Manager Bill Belichick to seek his advice about whether or not to do the trade. Before coming to Atlanta, Dimitroff worked under Belichick in New England and greatly valued his opinion.

The conservative Patriots coach was venomously against the deal, and urged Dimitroff not to do it, but instead to take WR Jonathan Baldwin out of Pittsburgh with the 27th overall pick. TD ended up sticking to his guns and made the trade anyway, while the Chiefs took Baldwin with the 26th overall pick (the pick Atlanta would have had, since time expired on the Baltimore Ravens who were suppose to make the selection here).

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  • Bill Belichick is a legendary coach who has guided the New England Patriots to three superbowl rings, and five superbowl appearances, he will be a first ballot hall of famer when all is said and done. That being said, I mean no disrespect to him when I say that Bill Belichick cannot recognize good wide receiver talent in the draft. In 2010 he ended up trading the pick that became Dez Bryant to move down three spots, and he’s struggled to get Tom Brady any big time Wide Receivers, since Randy Moss and Wes Welker left.

    Coach Belichick missed again on his Wide Receiver analysis as Jon Baldwin ended up becoming a major bust for the Chiefs. He was a big WR who got people excited during non contact drills, but turned into a completely different player when the pads came on. The other receiver that Atlanta was projected to take in an earlier mock at 27 was Titus Young, who ended up flaming out of the NFL due to his attitude problems. The Browns used the Falcons’ 2nd round pick that year to take Greg Little, another WR bust. Thomas Dimitroff wanted to improve the WR position, and he probably wouldn’t have successfully done so had he taken Belichick’s advice and stood pat at the 27th pick.

    “Bill Belichick cannot recognize good wide receiver talent in the draft. In 2010 he ended up trading the pick that became Dez Bryant to move down three spots”

    Julio Jones just broke the Atlanta Falcons’ single season and single game records for receiving yards (both previously held by Roddy White), he’s a top 5 receiver in the league, while Baldwin isn’t even with a team anymore. Many fans are mad at the job Thomas Dimitroff has done with this team’s defense and offense line, myself included, but we should be grateful for the fact that he didn’t take Bill Belichick’s terrible advice.