Falcons' White has plans for rookie Julio Jones
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP)
Julio Jones is willing to accept expectations that he'll deliver - on and off the field - as a rookie receiver with the Atlanta Falcons.
Jones learned Friday that Falcons Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White already has plans for the Alabama receiver drafted by Atlanta with the No. 6 overall pick on Thursday.
White posted a video welcome for Jones on Twitter on Friday. White says he can't wait to ''interact'' with the rookie. White then noted he likes doughnuts on Fridays and hamburgers on Wednesdays.
That was White's way of letting the rookie know he'll be expected to deliver more than big catches.
Told of White's food preferences, Jones said ''OK, I have to write this down.''
The Falcons moved up from No. 27 to No. 6 in a trade with Cleveland on Thursday. In addition to swapping spots in the first round of this draft, the Falcons sent Cleveland second- and fourth-round picks this year and first- and fourth-round picks in next year's draft.
The heavy investment of draft picks could place more pressure on Jones to join White as big-play targets for quarterback Matt Ryan.
''I don't think that's even going to be on his mind,'' said Jones' agent, Atlanta-based Pat Dye Jr. ''His focus is going to be on trying to win.''
Falcons owner Arthur Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Friday defended the team's bold trade.
''I want everybody to keep in mind we have six more picks, that's this year, not in next 10 years,'' Blank said, referring to criticism the Falcons invested too many picks in the trade.
Dimitroff said trading up for the chance to select Jones or Georgia receiver A.J. Green became the top draft scenario after offseason analysis revealed the team's need for more explosive players.
The Falcons won the NFC South with a 13-3 record last season despite having only 44 plays of 20 yards or longer. That total tied Carolina for the fewest in the NFL, according to STATS LLC.
''We kicked off this offseason talking about how incredibly important it was for us to add an explosive play-maker,'' Dimitroff said. ''This was about full-on concentration to try to dial in on a player we think can truly help this offense.''
Jones led Alabama with 78 catches for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He then surprised some observers by running the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds in the scouting combine.
Jones (6-4, 220) is rated as a strong blocker. He said he didn't have a football hero as a young player but said he likes Steelers receiver Hines Ward and Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis because ''those guys dedicate themselves to the game of football.''
Added Jones: ''I kind of feel I do the same thing.''
Jones said his dedication to blocking comes from ''just being passionate about the game.''
''I love to compete,'' he said. ''I dislike defensive guys who don't like to compete with me for four quarters. I know those guys want to bring it. I'm going to be bringing it, too.''
Alabama coach Nick Saban, who attended the first round of the draft, said Jones will prove he has overcome problems he had with dropped passes.
''There is no doubt in my mind that he has great hands and all of these people that question that - he has made a lot of great catches,'' Saban said. ''He has done a phenomenal job for us and it is great to have him in Atlanta. ... Atlanta is going to love him.''