At one point Saturday night, the front page of Yahoo! Sports' website had a poll on the biggest surprise in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Atlanta Falcons' trade for Julio Jones was topping everything else after 20,000 votes, so it's safe to say the experts are going to have some opinions and analysis of Atlanta's 2011 draft class. To the draft grades!
While the class also includes Akeem Dent, Jacquizz Rodgers, Matt Bosher, Andrew Jackson and Cliff Matthews, most are focusing on that blockbuster Jones deal. CBS Sports' Pete Prisco gives Atlanta a B-, approving of the Dent and Rodgers picks, but says:
It's all about Jones here. Thomas Dimitroff made a risky move to help his passing game. If it pays off, as in a Super Bowl, he wins. If not, the criticism will come.
USA Today's Nate Davis lists the Cleveland Browns among his winners for their trade with the Falcons, which certainly doesn't say much for his estimation of Atlanta's draft, right? Walter Football grades each pick on an individual basis, thinking very highly of Rodgers, Jackson and Matthews but raging at the selection of a punter and throwing up its hands over Jones.
Yahoo! Sports' Rob Rang also gives Atlanta a B-, delighting in Rodgers but worrying the Falcons addressed the wrong shortcoming:
The Falcons feature arguably the league's best wide receiver already in Roddy White. That means that Jones - at best - will serve as the Falcons' No. 2 receiver. Giving up five draft picks, including two first-round picks, for a No. 2 receiver is too much.
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks says Atlanta is going to be "tougher to defend" -- whether it's tough enough to justify the haul given up for Jones remains to be seen.
And for what it's worth, Mocking The Draft doesn't list the Falcons among its winners or losers. All right!
For more on the NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft and browse SB Nation's 2011 NFL Draft hub. More local NFL Draft resources: live discussion of Falcons picks at The Falcoholic; coverage of the Falcons and NFC South for rounds one, two and three and rounds four through seven; final conference tallies for the SEC and ACC; and pre-Draft coverage of the Falcons and SEC and ACC prospects.