INDIANAPOLIS - The Atlanta Falcons created quite a stir last spring when general manager Thomas Dimitroff boldly climbed from No. 27 in the first round all the way to the sixth spot to take Alabama wideout Julio Jones. Such major leaps are rare - not to mention costly - and the deal attracted attention around the league.
That included New England, where Bill Belichick advised his former director of college scouting against the move prior to the draft. The story was included in Michael Holley's book "The War Room" and detailed how Dimitroff discussed the deal with Belichick and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli before pulling the trigger.
Dimitroff talked about the events leading to the discussion following his press conference at Friday's Combine.
"We had a great conversation about it," Dimitroff said. "My feeling on that is, organizations have totally different approaches to how they build their team. I respect Bill a great deal, obviously, with his team-building abilities and learned a lot from him. And we definitely talked about a move like Julio. And our feeling was, for our organization, it was right."
Dimitroff said he spoke with both Belichick and Pioli about a month and a half before the draft. He said he thought he would probably need to make multiple deals in order to get where he wanted to go, first moving to about the halfway point before making another deal to get to No. 6. He also added he felt that process would have been "exponentially more expensive."
It was a controversial deal (Atlanta gave up second- and fourth-round picks in 2011 and first- and fourth-round picks this year to switch spots with Cleveland) but Jones' solid performance in his rookie season has at least eliminated some of the criticism Dimitroff received.