BEREA — John Dorsey can appreciate how bad the Julio Jones trade was for the Browns.
The Julio Heist — prominent this week with the Atlanta Falcons flying in — is a reason Dorsey is in Cleveland.
The Browns entered the 2011 draft sitting on the No. 6 pick, with second-year GM Tom Heckert anxious to fast-forward a roster rebuild.
Cam Newton, Von Miller, A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson were snapped up early. Still, at No. 6, future superstars Jones and J.J. Watt remained available.
The Falcons' brass viewed Jones as exactly what quarterback Matt Ryan needed.
Heckert was in a tricky spot. He needed his Ryan when he got to Cleveland in 2010, but his first-round pick (No. 7 overall) was too low to reach desired target Sam Bradford. The best of the rest was Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen. Heckert wound up with Colt McCoy in the third round.
Coming off 2010, Heckert and his boss Mike Holmgren weren't delusional about McCoy, but their options were slim. The No. 6 pick in 2011 wasn't enough to get to Cam Newton. The rest of the quarterback pool was a nerve-racking mix including Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Mallett.
Heckert and Holmgren relished the goodies they might get for that sixth pick. The Falcons' Thomas Dimitroff presented an irresistible offer, forking over picks at No. 27 and No. 59 in 2011 in addition to first- and fourth-round picks in 2012. The Falcons took Jones, the 6-foot-3 wide receiver who had helped Alabama to a 14-0 season in 2009.
Heckert, in turn, used the Falcons' first-round pick to trade up to No. 21 and take defensive lineman Phil Taylor. The price for Taylor, in addition to flipping places with the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-round, was a third-round pick, which the Chiefs spent on Justin Houston. Houston turned into a monster for the team Dorsey took over in 2013, giving the 2014 Chiefs 22 sacks. Houston was a reason the Chiefs didn't have to wait to win while Dorsey was building that roster.
The rest of what came to the Browns in the Jones trade:
• The No. 59 pick was spent on wide receiver Greg Little.
• The first-round pick in 2012 turned into a No. 22 and quarterback Brandon Weeden.
• The 2012 fourth-round pick became part of a trade up from No. 4 overall to No. 3 to land running back Trent Richardson.
Those players became part of the story of losing that led to a job coming open for Dorsey.
What difference Jones might have made for the Browns is debatable. He has been stellar for the Falcons.
"If everybody in the league had a chance to pick the No. 1 receiver in the league, I'm pretty sure all 32 teams would pick Julio Jones," Browns defensive back Damarious Randall said Wednesday.
At 29, Jones is on top of his game. He has 711 receiving yards and a touchdown in his past six games. Jarvis Landry leads the Browns with 578 yards in nine games.
Jones' worst full season in the previous four years was 1,409 yards. In 2015, he led the NFL in catches (136) and receiving yards (1,871).
"Everybody that can make a roster in this league can play," Browns interim coach Gregg Williams said. "There is the top group that are different, and he is one of those. Atlanta understands his playmaking abilities. So do we. We have to be spot on."
Jones is a taunting reminder the Browns have failed to draft lasting success at wide receiver.
Within the past dozen years, their highest picks at the position have been No. 3 overall (Braylon Edwards, 2007), No. 15 (Corey Coleman in 2016), No. 36 (Brian Robiskie 2009), No. 50 (Mohamed Massaquoi, 2009), No. 59 (Little, 2011), No. 78 (Travis Wilson, 2006) and No. 100 (Travis Benjamin, 2012).
The group doesn't include Josh Gordon, a second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft, a Heckert-Holmgren tale unto itself.
The Falcons have a chance for their fifth season of 10 wins or more since the Jones trade. In the franchise's 45 seasons before his arrival, they had six 10-win seasons.
Jones' appearance in Sunday's game reflects one of Dorsey's big issues. If Baker Mayfield is to be his Matt Ryan, where can he find his Julio Jones?