PatsFans.com - Mobile
PatsFans.com
Search

The Julio Jones Trade: Winning the Battle, Losing the War?

2021 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: at Bills
Pick Results: NE: 83.1% at BUF: 16.9%

Mon
Dec 6th

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
It's now been several years since Tom Dimitroff went all-in to secure reliever Julio Jones for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were coming off a 13-3 season. Dimitroff clearly believed that a top WR was the missing ingredient to put them over the top, and that Jones was head and shoulders above the rest of the field.

I think time has proven Dimitroff completely right in his assessment of that year's WR talent. Jones is a terrific player, and the next receiver taken was Jonathan Baldwin, who is now out of work. Bullseye.

But -- the Falcons are now heading to their 2nd straight losing season.

It would be a massive stretch to lay all of the team's failures at the feet of the Jones trade. But it does seem to that going all-in on a single player affected the overall depth of talent of the team. The Falcons were targeting an immediate Superbowl with a single arrow. Meanwhile the Patriots, famously, hedge their bets across multiple shots with the target of being competitive every single year.

The Falcons spent their 2011 first, second and fourth round picks and 2012 first and fourth on Julio Jones. Let's take a look at what the Patriots did with their own same picks:

2011 first: Traded to NO for picks which became Shane Vereen and Chandler Jones
2011 second: Traded to HOU for picks which became Stevan Ridley and Marcus Cannon
2011 fourth: Traded with their 3rd to OAK for picks which became Tavon Wilson and Malcolm Williams
2012 first + fourth: These two picks were packaged in a trade up for a pick which became Dont'a Hightower

So that's Julio Jones on one side, and Shane Vereen + Chandler Jones + Stevan Ridley + Marcus Cannon + Dont'a Hightower + 40% (Tavon Wilson and Malcolm Williams) on the other.

You might suggest that those Pats picks were better than average (despite Tavon), but remember that we also gave the Pats less draft ammo to work with than Atlanta, due to lower draft position. You might also claim that Julio Jones is the best player on that whole list, and I wouldn't argue. But I still think an organization is better off with multiple quality players rather than one extra-good player and several glaring weaknesses to exploit.

It looks to me like Dimitroff was right about Jones, but that that the trade was nonetheless a lousy decision. He succeeded in picking a player, but failed in the long-term job of building a team.
 

patsfaninpa

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Someone reported that Dimitroff asked BB what he thought of the trade as it was going down. Forget writer. BB nixed it and said why don't you sit tight and draft someone like Jonathan Baldwin. QB is really the only position where one should make such a trade. I'd consider a Reggie White or Deion Sanders type prospect at their positions. DL and CB. But, they'd have to be better than can't miss.
 

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
The Falcons spent their 2011 first, second and fourth round picks and 2012 first and fourth on Julio Jones.

I don't think trading up is necessarily bad, if the cost is reasonable. Look at the Jones and Hightower trades. Well worth it. But I don't know if any player is worth 2 1st, a 2nd and 2 4th. Look at the RGIII trade, and what St. Louis has done with it:

- Washington get the #2 pick in 2012 and took RGIII, who is currently a hot mess
- St. Louis got the #6 and 39 picks in 2012, plus 2013 and 2014 1st round round picks. They turned those picks into DT Michael Brockers, RB Isaiah Pead and OG Rokevius Watkins (trading back from #6 in 2012 for #14 and #45, and from #45 for #50 and #150), CB Janorris Jenkins (#39, 2012), LB Alec Ogletree, WR Stedman Bailey and half of RB Zac Stacy (trading back from #22 for #30, #92, and #198, and using #198 to trade up to #160), and OT Greg Robinson. The Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars don't have that much talent on their entire 53 man rosters.

Julio Jones is probably my favorite WR in the NFL, but I wouldn't spend a top 10 pick on a WR. Ever. And I wouldn't trade 2 1sts, no matter what, much less what Atlanta gave up.
 

Luxusdk

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
And i still think Browns lost this trade!! Look the players they got, compared to drafting a impact player like Jones or Watt! Moveing Down isn't always the right move ( Remmeber this BB :p )
 

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Some trade-ups that I personally would have made:

- #29 and 62 to move up to #12 in 2014 for DT Aaron Donald (not nearly enough value - a pipe dream)
- #62 and 130 to move up to #55 or so in 2014 for WR Cody Latimer
- #17 and 60 to move up to #10 in 2011 for DE/DT JJ Watt or Cam Jordan (but note: I had Jordan rated higher than Watt, though I liked both)
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
And i still think Browns lost this trade!! Look the players they got, compared to drafting a impact player like Jones or Watt! Moveing Down isn't always the right move ( Remmeber this BB :p )

The Browns were going to lose no matter what deal they made. True incompetence always shines through. :)
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
I don't think trading up is necessarily bad, if the cost is reasonable. Look at the Jones and Hightower trades. Well worth it.

I totally agree. Move up, down and around strategically to maximize your draft return. But don't get so besotted with a single player that you lose sight of the bigger team-building picture. (And for heavens sake, not with a wide receiver!)
 

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
And for heavens sake, not with a wide receiver!

I just don't think a WR is worth a top 10 pick, and very few are worth a 1st round pick. That's not to say the position isn't important, and that I don't admire the skill set of Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and such guys. But I personally wouldn't do it.

Buffalo traded up from #9 to #4 to get Sammy Watkins, and gave up 2015 1st and 4th round picks to do so. They could have stood pat and taken Odell Beckham, who I think will be as good as Watkins, if not better. I can understand loving "your guy" and moving up a bit to get him (for example, if Watkins had slipped to the 6-7 range); but giving up that kind of draft capital is just not good decision-making, IMO.
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
Buffalo traded up from #9 to #4 to get Sammy Watkins, and gave up 2015 1st and 4th round picks to do so. They could have stood pat and taken Odell Beckham, who I think will be as good as Watkins, if not better.

Yep, that was a dreadful move. Not just giving up an extra first round pick, but doing it in a year with an incredible wealth of WR talent.
 

Off The Grid

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I heartily concur with the OP.

I, for one, didn't need 3 or 4 Years to render a Verdict on that Trade.

I needed only time enough to recover my jaw from the floor.

Regardless of what the Browns did with their end of it, or what the Rams did with the Robert Griffin Heist, or what the RedSkins did with the Ricky Williams Heist, or of course what the CowBoys did with the Hershel Walker Heist, the Trades were monumental, towering Steals, and always will be.

The Moves made, subsequently, with the Pilfered Picks, are their own Wins or Fails.

That does not, in my opinion, change the fundamental Coup that these Teams all scored.

Conversely, every single Team that surrendered their Futures for Johny Gottahavm failed spectacularly the moment the Move was made. I have never been more besotted with a Split End than I was with Julio Jones, but I was almost speechless with amazement ~ almost ~ when that Trade was announced.

God Bless the short-sighted Idiocy of impatient men.
 

luuked

Hall of Fame Poster
I think BB was right about the trade all along on a conceptual level.

The missing depth in the trenches is what killed Atlanta in the last two years.

No WR, not even Gronk is able to make up for a lack of depth once injuries start to occur.


And I think this leads to a very interesting related discussion of how having a single blue chip player that can do it all is a single point of failure when it comes to injuries compared to a commitee of complementary players (i.e. our defense this year).

The one is a match up nightmare and gives u an advantage in terms of squad size but is very difficult to replace. The other means juggling multiple players but gives you more flexibility and redundancy.

I really think that we have a great mix of of chess pieces and depth players this year. And the depth is more difficult to get right.
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
I applaud dimitroff for having the guts to go for the home run, but cringe at the cost.

Ochmed, I'm not sure I'm with you on admiring the "guts." By that token we'd also have to applaud Ditka for the guts to trade his entire draft for Ricky Williams, or even the Vikings for handing over their birthright for Herschel Walker.

IMO it takes a lot of guts to NOT fall for the allure of shiny objects when your fanbase is clamoring for them, and to stick to the prosaic long-term view. (Every single year here, posters explain why THIS is the year that it makes sense for the Patriots to go "all in" and move up aggressively for the marquee player who will make everything perfect. Every. Single. Year.)
 

patsfaninpa

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
the pats could have had cam jordan at twenty seven but traded the pick to the saints who took him. the same year they could have drafted m wilkerson in the top of the second but took ros i dowling. talk about missed opportunities... wilkerson annd jordan on the same line

Jordan went a couple of picks before we traded down. Which turned into a great trade. Basically, ended up being Chandler Jones with the first we got. Wilkerson went in the first. Your scenario doesn't reflect the way the draft actually went down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_NFL_draft
 

patchick

Moderatrix
Staff member
PatsFans.com Supporter
the pats could have had cam jordan at twenty seven but traded the pick to the saints who took him. the same year they could have drafted m wilkerson in the top of the second but took ros i dowling. talk about missed opportunities... wilkerson annd jordan on the same line

You might want to actually review the drafts, your memory is making up some coulda-shouldas. ;) Neither player was available at the picks you mention.
 

reflexblue

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
You might want to actually review the drafts, your memory is making up some coulda-shouldas. ;) Neither player was available at the picks you mention.
yes i am going by memory so i'll have to go take a look...... yep i was wrong, it was ingram that was drafted... its tough getting old, i don't recommend it.
 
Last edited:

mayoclinic

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
IMO it takes a lot of guts to NOT fall for the allure of shiny objects when your fanbase is clamoring for them, and to stick to the prosaic long-term view. (Every single year here, posters explain why THIS is the year that it makes sense for the Patriots to go "all in" and move up aggressively for the marquee player who will make everything perfect. Every. Single. Year.)

Great post. BB gets lambasted on this board and in the media for trading back, amassing picks, adding solid complementary players, and building a team, rather than going for the splashy moves. Every. Single. Year. As. You. Say.

People still argue that we should have taken Dez Bryant in 2010, or Cordarelle Patterson in 2013. Silly.
 

Top