Atlanta Falcons: Grading All of Thomas Dimitroff’s Draft Class

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Dec 16, 2012; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) looks around the field before the game against the New York Giants at The Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports


Round 1 (pick 6): WR Julio Jones

Round 3 (pick 91): LB Akeem Dent

Round 5 (pick 145): RB Jaquizz Rodgers

Round 6 (pick 192): P Matt Bosher

Round 7 (pick 210): OG Andrew Jackson

Round 7 (pick 230): DE Cliff Matthews

The Good: Two words: Julio Jones. Dimitroff made one of the boldest moves of any draft in recent memory: sacrificing two first round picks, a second round pick, and two fourth round picks to trade up 20 spots from the 26th pick to the 6th overall selection in an attempt to get a freakish athlete from the University of Alabama. Boy did that gamble pay off, Julio has established himself as a top 3 receiver in the NFL (and is considered by many as the heir to Calvin Johnson’s throne as the best WR), and is currently 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards; He’s well on his way to another pro bowl. Jaquizz Rodgers has developed into nice rotational running back for the team, not too shabby for a 5th rounder. Matt Bosher has also been a very good late round pick, as he’s become of the league’s top punters.

The Bad: The problem with trading away so many picks to trade up in the draft is an eventual lack of depth. That’s what did the Falcons in and led to that tumultuous 4-12 record last season after many of the starters went down with injuries, the next guys up on the depth chart just weren’t talented enough. The other main reason for that awful season was that Julio Jones got injured and missed 11 games, Dimitroff won’t be docked as much for Jones getting hurt as he was for Weatherspoon’s injuries because: Julio has accomplished a lot more (including getting to a pro bowl), and he only missed three games in his career other than those 11 after breaking a screw in his foot last year. Akeem Dent was pretty awful and not worth the third round price tag, he was traded for backup QB TJ Yates before preseason, but was going to get cut anyway if that trade didn’t happen.

Grade: B+ The only thing that keeps this from being an A is the fact that the Falcons were exposed for a lack of depth (a lot of which had to do with this draft day trade), and that Julio just had to have a stem cell procedure on his foot. Nonetheless, Jones has been an absolute stud and is well on his way to becoming the best receiver in the NFL (if he can stay healthy). The draft day trade which TD has become known for worked out very well, and the trade off of depth for a monster WR has been worth it. Jaquizz Rodgers and Matt Bosher helped this grade, as they’ve been a couple of nice late rounders who have been productive since getting drafted.