Atlanta Falcons: Top 10 All-Time Draft Classes – #4
Today, we continue our “Falcons 50” countdown. Staff writer Eric Robinson has been counting down the Atlanta Falcons’ best ever draft classes, and now moves onto No. 4.
You can find the full list of “Falcons 50” posts here.
Coming down the final stretch in our countdown of all-time Falcons draft classes, we land at No. 4. A class that presented us a dynamic wideout, an athletic special teams asset, and a third down back with versatility. However, when we look back at this particular class, it will all be summed up by one player in particular.
4. 2011 – Notable names: Julio Jones, Jacquizz Rodgers, Matthew Bosher
1. Julio Jones, WR
3. Akeem Dent, LB
5. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
6. Matthew Bosher, K
7. Andrew Jackson, OL
7. Cliff Matthews, DL
Coming off a 13-3 season, which resulted in a No. 1 overall seed, GM Thomas Dimitroff felt the Falcons need a little more punch. The haymaker was delivered in the 2011 NFL Draft by trading up to draft wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick.
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By bringing in Jones, the Falcons opened up their playbook and their outlook. Jones hit the ground running his rookie season and posted 54 catches, 959 yards and 8 TDs. His sophomore season placed his game on a different level as he had 79 receptions, 1,198 yards, and ten scores.
The former receiver from Alabama was limited to only five games during the 2013 season, however he still posted great numbers of 41 catches, 580 yards, and 2 TDs.
Last season, Jones placed himself in the debate of best receiver in the game as he caught 104 passes, 1,593 yards and 6 TDs. Jones earned Pro Bowl honors in 2012 and 2014. There is no doubt that trading up 20 spots in the draft for Julio was an absolutely brilliant move by Dimitroff and staff. Jones has been worth it and more. Here is Dimitroff discussing his move on draft night in 2011:
The 2011 draft also netted the Falcons a RB in Jacquizz Rodgers who became a third down option for the Falcons over the course of his four years in Atlanta. Rodgers was limited some because of his lack of NFL prototype size, but he was a hard worker and was versatile. Rodgers posted catch totals of 53 and 52 in back to back seasons of 2012 and 2013.
Late in the draft, the Falcons selected P/K Matthew Bosher out of the University of Miami. Bosher has been a staple in the Falcons special teams for the past four seasons with a career punt average of 45.5 yards a punt.
Stay tuned to Blogging Dirty tomorrow as we reveal No. 3.