Last year, the Atlanta Falcons traded their first round pick from the 2012 NFL Draft, along with various other picks, for the chance to select Julio Jones. You might've heard. It might've cost the Birds the chance to land some offensive line or secondary depth for 2011, and it'll also mean passing up the chance at a premier prospect this time around.
This is a big deal, but could be a really big deal if the team does bring on Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. If he were to try and install elements of a 3-4 system, the Falcons would need to pick up a 350-pound nose tackle, along with various other front seven adjustments. Whether the Falcons want to go that direction or not, the Jones trade pretty much means they'd have to wait to truly begin the two-year adjustment process. It certainly would be nice to be the only team in the NFC South running the oddball defense.
And that's not all Atlanta's missing out on.
You say you'd like to see the offensive line shored up? According to SBNation.com's latest 2012 mock draft, Stanford Cardinal tackle Jonathan Martin, Wisconsin Badgers center Peter Konz and Georgia Bulldogs guard Cordy Glenn may all be available after the pick the Falcons traded to the Cleveland Browns. The biggest area of need appears to be right guard, meaning the Falcons could potentially have traded down a tad and still filled a gap.
Have a look at some of the other players going in the first round there. Add one of them plus a fourth-rounder to, say, Chicago Bears tackle Gabe Carimi (who the Falcons likely would've picked last year), Browns receiver Greg Little, and a fifth-rounder from last year.
How long until we can say whether Julio was worth all that?