This ($) is how you make an argument in favor of the Julio Jones pick. KC Joyner notes that the Falcons were terrible in the short passing game last year, most likely because none of their receivers could break a tackle or make a defender miss. Jones was excellent in the short passing game at Alabama. In fact, he was better than AJ Green in this department, so he answers a major need for the Falcons. If Jones lives up to his college numbers, then he’ll be able to take some of the load off of Roddy White and he’ll also open up the deep passing game.
Speaking of which, Joyner’s article raises an interesting issue with the oft-criticized Mike Mularkey offense. Joyner notes that the Falcons were both bad in the short passing game and they barely ever threw deep. This raises two possibilities. The defense of Mularkey would be that the Falcons were bad at the deep passing game, so he had to call a number of short and intermediate routes. The less charitable explanation would be that Mularkey’s conservative tendencies – either through play-calling or through drilling a “don’t make a mistake under any circumstances – allowed opponents to sit on the short passing game. Again, I find myself asking the question “how did this team win 13 games without being very good at anything?”