NEW YORK -- Last season, I predicted the Atlanta Falcons would win the Super Bowl.
Obviously I was wrong, but it wasn't that far off -- they were arguably the best regular season team in the NFL. Just not the most explosive.
The latter problem showed up when Green Bay bolted out to a big lead in the NFC Championship Game and Atlanta couldn't even come close to mustering a comeback because they lacked the necessary explosiveness to do any damage in the second half.
By adding Julio Jones, they changed that, dramatically, and even in Mike Mularky's sometimes slow offense, the Falcons could put up big numbers if Jones does what they expect.
He better, though, because Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith just paid a pretty penny for him: four -- count them, FOUR -- draft picks in the first four rounds of the 2011 and 2012 NFL Drafts.
Atlanta gave up their first-round pick for 2011 (27th overall), their second-round pick for 2011, their fourth-round pick for 2011, their first-round pick for 2012 and their fourth-round pick in 2012. Yes, that is a TON of picks for one player.
And, yes, you may slow-clap for Tom Heckert now, because he just picked up a ridiculous haul of picks for an organization -- the Browns -- that needs in any number of positions.
Now, look, it may not matter, it could work out for both sides, and the Browns may end up with the last pick of the first round next year. But that's cool -- they'll appreciate having a pair of first-rounders and the Falcons will appreciate winning a Super Bowl.
Of course, that's probably a stretch. But the Falcons do have to win the NFC South in 2011 if they want to justify this move.
The Browns, on the other hand, can sit back and stockpile assets with which to help Colt McCoy and the organization later down the line, sitting on a pile of early picks over the next two years and no real guarantee of success in 2011.
And maybe it's too early to try and criticize Dimitroff and Smith. After all, there's really nothing to justify doing so, as they've killed it thus far. But if something goes awry in 2011, there'll be some questions about this deal asked, particularly when Jones can only touch the ball but so many times a game.
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