For the Falcons, the words "draft pick" and "health" often have not coincided during Thomas Dimitroff's tenure in Atlanta. In fact, it's quite astonishing just how unfortunate the Falcons have been in the health department.
Harry Douglas missed all of 2009 with an ACL tear, and did not appear to be 100% at any point during 2010. First-round pick Peria Jerry also tore up his knee two games into his rookie season, and hasn't been the same since. William Moore also dealt with several lingering injuries during his rookie year.
More recently, we also witnessed a nagging ankle injury derail what had been a very promising rookie season for first-rounder Sean Weatherspoon, and fellow 2010 draftee Mike Johnson was placed on injured reserve roughly a month ago. And then there's Kerry Meier, who tore his ACL during last year's training camp and has yet to record a single catch in the NFL.
Oh ya, and there's also-kind-of-important Julio Jones. He who missed games against Carolina and Detroit, along with missing most of the contests against the Packers and Saints, and who seems likely to miss the upcoming game against the Tennessee Titans, having not practiced all week. What gives?
Well for starters, those of you familiar with SEC football already know that Julio was never really known for being an injury concern at Alabama. He had his share of minor injuries, sure, but that's just it: they were minor. He only actually missed one game in three seasons playing for the Tide.
Jones did have minor surgery on a broken foot during the offseason, but I highly doubt that has anything to do with the current issue with his hamstring. The real point I'm trying to make here, then, is that Thomas Dimitroff did his homework one Jones. You don't trade all those draft picks for a player you're not sure is an absolute star.
But that's just it: the Falcons spent five draft picks on Julio Jones. This was supposed to be Atlanta's year, and No. 11 was supposed to be the missing piece needed to complete this team.
When healthy, Thomas Dimitroff's most prized selection has been as-advertised. In five full games played, he's amassed over 100 years receiving in three of them. But the risk you run with placing so much value on one single player is that the expectations are through the roof especially given that we're talking about a wide receiver. For every Randy Moss, there's also your fair share of Troy Williamson and Charles Rogers-caliber busts.
Now it doesn't appear- and I certainly hope not- that this continues to be anything more than a re-aggravated hammy. I understand wanting to treat you're star wideout with a little bit of caution as well. But when a player such as Jones isn't on the field, it does beg the question "should a team go all-in on one player, regardless of projected talent?"
With Andrew Luck having another outstanding season at Stanford and desperate teams likely considering a draft-day trade, I'm sure we'll hear that question asked again. But here's to hoping Julio doesn't become the cautionary tale for such possibilities.