We continue our “Falcons 50” countdown with a look at the Atlanta Falcons’ top 10 first-round draft picks. Falcons football is just 34 days away. You can follow along with the full countdown here.
The countdown now turns to a distinct echelon of players. The type of players that are rare and once in a lifetime type talents. The previous selection for number five on the list of the top 10 Falcons first rounders pitted two names instead of the usual one with offensive tackle Mike Kenn and current quarterback Matt Ryan tying.
Now for number four is another current Falcon. One who has, in a handful of seasons, skyrocketed to easily one of the most exciting players in Falcons history and is arguably the most exciting player in the league now. The number four player on the countdown of the top 10 first rounders in Atlanta Falcons history:
4. WR Julio Jones – 1st Round, 6th Overall, 2011 NFL Draft
It doesn’t require a masters degree to know that Julio is easily one of the best playmakers in Falcons history, even with only five seasons of work under his belt. Simply put, the man is a freak of nature.
It was obvious when he ran a 4.3 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine five years ago, while also nursing a broken bone in his foot.
It was obvious when he torched the supposed shutdown corner in Nnamdi Asomugha back in 2012 for the tune of 123 yards and one touchdown.
It was obvious when plastered the Packers for 259 yards and one touchdown on Monday Night Football in 2014.
Currently, Jones is sitting at fourth in franchise history in receiving yards with 6,201 and seventh in receiving touchdowns with 34. The past two seasons by #11 has given him the top two receiving seasons in team history. Plus, Julio has given the team the only seasons in franchise history in which a receiver has average over 100 yards a game (2014, 2015). Did I mention that Julio is currently the leader in receiving yards averaged per game in league history? Oh.
I understand that I ranked Julio higher than an Hall-of-Famer in Humphrey and two potential Hall-of-Famers in Kenn and Nobis but let’s be honest here, the talent that Jones has never really been seen at the receiver position for the Falcons.
This placement of the receiver is more of a testament as to where I see Julio winding up at the end of his career. General manager Thomas Dimitroff struck gold when trading up and drafting Julio five years ago. Falcons fans are reaping the rewards.