Joyner: Julio Jones deal smart


There has been a lot made about the Atlanta Falcons trading away five draft picks to move up to snag former Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

Some are flabbergasted by the idea that a team with a stud wideout like Roddy White would do this, especially since they are similar players. Others think Jones can make an immediate impact and should complement White nicely.

But five picks in a receiver-heavy draft? Sounds a little crazy, but ESPN's KC Joyner writes that the Falcons' move was a smart one, especially when you consider how much Jones should help Atlanta's short passing offense.

Here is a little of what Joyner said about the Falcons' short game a season ago:

Matt Ryan tied for 27th in short pass yards per attempt (YPA) with a 5.7 mark, and his 4.3 total in SYPA (a metric that combines YPA with success percentage) tied for 25th.

Atlanta's wideouts were equally mediocre. Michael Jenkins (5.9 short pass YPA), White (5.9) and Harry Douglas (5.8) all posted numbers that ranked them in the bottom half of the league in this metric. Tony Gonzalez fared even worse, as his 5.0 short pass YPA ranked as the eighth-lowest total among tight ends.

And how does Joyner think Jones fits into the equation? Check this out:

An 11-game sample (versus Penn State, at Duke, at Arkansas, versus Florida, at South Carolina, versus Mississippi, at Tennessee, at LSU, versus Mississippi State, versus Auburn and versus Michigan State) of Jones' 2010 numbers strongly indicates he could provide immediate help for this problem.

His 15-for-16 for 160 yards performance on screen passes (including seven gains of 10 or more yards) goes far in illustrating his explosiveness, but Jones also fared well on slant routes (5-for-7 for 53 yards), short crossing routes (6-for-8 for 68 yards) and smoke routes (2-for-3 for 20 yards). Another item of note: Jones' 8.1 short pass YPA was two yards better than No. 4 overall draft pick A.J. Green.