Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan, also a Dimitroff draft pick, were the cornerstones for the Falcons as they went on to unprecedented regular-season success. But Dimitroff had fewer draft picks to work with after the trade and too many misses, especially with offensive and defensive linemen, eventually hurt the team’s depth. Mistakes with free-agent signings exacerbated that downfall.
After a terrible draft in 2012, the Dimitroff/Mike Smith partnership had two pretty good draft classes in a row but not a lot of proven talent because of earlier personnel mistakes. Owner Arthur Blank fired Smith and kept Dimitroff after new coach Dan Quinn vouched for him.
The Dimitroff/Quinn partnership has produced what so far appear to be two very good draft classes and some smart free agent and waiver-wire acquisitions.
Dimitroff defended the Jones trade even after the Falcons slid to two losing seasons and Jones had a second surgery for a foot problem that had bothered him since college. He’s got a much stronger case now that the Falcons are in the Super Bowl for just the second time, with Jones as probably the best wide receiver in the NFL.
“I’ve certainly been thankful that we traded those picks to get him and he’s been part of our organization for a long time,” Ryan said last week.