If Bill Belichick didn't think Julio Jones was worth the picks Atlanta spent in the 2011 draft, he has since changed his mind.
"He's an excellent football player, period," New England's coach admitted Tuesday. "As a receiver he's got good strength, good speed, good ball skills, makes acrobatic catches. He takes the ball away from the defenders, is strong after the catch and a tough guy to tackle. He's also very good in the running game as a blocker; the kind of guy that will go in and get linebackers or safeties in the running game."
When Jones caught an 81-yard touchdown pass against the Rams in Week 2, he became the first player in league history with an reception of 80 or more years in each of his first three seasons.
Who would have thought? Well….
Michael Holley's book "War Room" includes the story of how former Patriots front office staffer, current Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff called Belichick that April day to ask if moving from No. 27 to No. 6 to get Jones was worth it. The price: Atlanta's 27th pick, as well as its second and fourth round selections in 2011, and first and fourth round picks in 2012.
Belichick advised against the trade. Dimitroff did it anyway.
Currently, Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards (373) and Belichick has to figure out how to shut him down on Sunday.
"He's probably as good as anybody in the league. It's not just his receiving skills, although they're very good. But I think he's a complete football player. I know he's a tough kid and a hard worker. I'm sure they're very happy he's on the team."