ATLANTA — Can you believe it?
Julio Jones, who recently put the finishing touches on his eighth NFL campaign, turned 30 on Friday.
Seems like yesterday that Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff moved heaven and earth to land Jones in the 2011 NFL Draft, stealthily moving up 14 slots in Round 1 (from No. 20 to No. 6).
On that fateful day, the Falcons surrendered five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns (two firsts, one second, two fourth-rounders) ... and still came out as one-sided winners from the swap.
How did this come to fruition?
The Browns never produced anything of substance with the five selections ... and Jones (698 catches, 10,731 yards, 51 TDs) quickly got on the fast track to a Hall of Fame career.
(Most likely, anyway.)
Which brings to this: In lieu of the Big 3-0 celebration, here's a YouTube-enhanced look at Jones' 10 most memorable plays or events with the Falcons.
#1 – JULIO & THE 300-YARD CLUB
SKINNY: The NFL has a very short of list of wideouts to roll for 300 yards in a single game; and Jones entered the club back in 2016, after torching the Panthers for 12 catches, 300 yards, and one touchdown.
The other members of the 300 Club: Flipper Anderson (NFL-high 336 yards), Calvin Johnson, Stephone Paige, Jim Benton, and Cloyce Box.
#2 – SUPER-DUPER CATCH
SKINNY: We all know the heartbreaking tale of the Falcons squandering a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI ... so what's one more regaling?
In the waning moments of Super Sunday, with Atlanta nursing an eight-point lead, quarterback Matt Ryan scrambled out of the pocket and seemingly missed wide on the connection to Jones.
However, upon rehashing the circus catch on Instant Replay, TV viewers were stunned to see Jones maintain possession of the ball and drag both feet ... while somehow keeping his body in a static, horizontal state throughout this amazing sequence.
By all accounts, this reception should have been the Lombardi Trophy-clinching act for the Falcons. Instead, it led to a head-scratching series of penalties, sacks, and a punt, allowing for the Patriots to regain the ball and drive down the field for the game-tying score.
A few minutes later, the Patriots would win the first overtime game in Super Bowl history (James White rushing touchdown).
#3 – JULIO DID ... WHAT?
SKINNY: This particular highlight doesn't need much of an introduction.
It likely stands as Jones' greatest single catch (degree of difficulty-wise), amid heavy resistance from the Giants' well-positioned defense.
#4 – TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
SKINNY: On the downside, this countdown offers prominent reflections of the Falcons' most crushing defeats in postseason play.
On the plus side, Jones served as Atlanta's most dynamic weapon in the 2012 NFC title game, fleecing the 49ers for two quick early scores.
Not bad for a Year 2 asset at the time.
Unfortunately, the Falcons couldn't hold onto the 17-0 lead, eventually falling to a Niners team that would shockingly peak with this road victory.
#5 – THE LAMBEAU KID
SKINNY: On a blustery December night in Green Bay, circa 2014, Jones shredded the Packers defense for 11 catches, 259 yards, and one touchdown.
The 259 yards initially stood as a franchise high with the Falcons, before Jones shattered the mark two years later versus the Panthers.
The only downers from the evening: The Falcons dropped a 43-37 decision on the road, and Jones finished 30 yards shy of Jerry Rice's all-time record for receiving yards on Monday Night Football.
#6 – TAPPA, TAPPA, TAPPA
SKINNY: For the sake of brevity, skip to the 14:10 point of this clip.
Upon arrival, you'll have access to perhaps the greatest toe-tapping touchdown of Jones' storybook career.
Interestingly, on this same night, Lions wideout Calvin Johnson broke the NFL single-season record for receiving yards.
#7 – UNFINISHED BUSINESS
SKINNY: Earlier in the countdown, we regaled Jones' two-touchdown effort in the 2012 NFC title game.
That superb outing resulted in a loss.
Things would be markedly different four years later (NFC championship at home), with Jones crushing the Packers for 180 yards and two touchdowns ... and the Falcons cruising to their second NFC crown of the Super Bowl era.
#8 – MAD SKILLS
SKINNY: It took Jones five-plus games to register his first touchdown in the pros.
But the payoff for Game No. 6 would be pretty sweet, with Julio collecting two touchdowns against the Colts in 2011 – highlighted by the horizontal dive/knee-dragging catch ... that ended with an awkward roll into the end zone.
#9 – DON'T STOP, TUCK AND ROLL
SKINNY: Against the hapless and helpless Bucs, the Falcons sprinted to a 56-0 lead in the opening three quarters.
The best highlight from this fireworks-filled blowout? Try Jones' over-the-shoulder sliding catch, culminating with a fortuitous roll into the bottom corner of the end zone.
Unfortunately, the TV networks hadn't yet indoctrinated the Pylon Cam.
#10 – TAKE THIS BROKEN WING
SKINNY: Do you remember this high-scoring affair with the Jets from 2013, a Monday Night Football classic which directly coincided with the Atlanta Braves being eliminated from the MLB postseason?
Adding to the uniqueness of the evening, Jones might have broken his foot ... before executing this amazing one-handed snag down the left sideline.