Julio Jones' Titans Playoff Loss is Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft Gain

Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated

The Atlanta Falcons have two draft picks in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft... their own at No. 43, and the Tennessee Titans pick they acquired in the Julio Jones trade.

Jones and the Titans were eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday by the Cincinnati Bengals giving Atlanta the 58th pick in the NFL Draft.

That pick could move up to No. 57 if the Kansas City Chiefs are beaten by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Andrew Nelles Tennessean via IMAGN

In reality the difference between No. 57 and No. 59 typically lies more with the scouting and development of the individual player, but picking higher is never a bad thing.

The LA Rams chose receiver Tutu Atwell out of Louisville with the 57th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, while linebacker Nick Bolton was selected with the 58th pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Atwell didn't have a catch for the Rams and saw action in just eight games before going on injured reserve. Bolton started 12 games for the 12-5 Chiefs and had 112 tackles and 11 tackles for loss.

Deion Jones led the Falcons in 2021 with eight tackles for loss and Dante Jones was second with six. No other Falcon posted more than four.

The Falcons have needs across the entire roster. The extra second-round pick will help, but the Falcons are still paying for the Jones trade... literally.

While Jones was traded in part to clear salary cap space, he still counts $15.5 million against the 2022 Falcons' salary cap in dead cap space... a function of the $25 million signing bonus as part of a $64 million guaranteed contract he got in 2019.

Jones had just 31 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown for the Titans, the lowest output of his 11-year career including his five-game 2013 season.

Former general manager Thomas Dimitroff played fast and loose with owner Arthur Blank's money and has hamstrung the Falcons' ability to address the team's needs through free agency.

Thankfully for the Falcons, Julio Jones' money comes off the books after the 2020 season and some help should arrive via the Titans' second-round pick in April.

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