Jim Harbaugh wanted to draft Julio Jones

By Vincent Frank

Current Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh has made a point of not throwing his former San Francisco 49ers organization under the bus.

Sure he’s made the token off-handed remark here and there, but for the most part the Wolverines head man has remained professional in the face of what was an unprofessional situation in San Francisco.

Touching on one topic that plagued him during his NFL career, the wide receiver position, Harbaugh recently indicated that he and the 49ers were in love with current Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

“I’ve always had a ton of respect for Julio Jones,” Harbaugh said, via Scout.com. “When I was with the San Francisco 49ers, we were hoping to draft Julio. Always have had tremendous respect for him, competed against him. I’m just a big fan of a lot of pe0ple. And I’m a jersey guy. I like jerseys.”

Jones was selected sixth overall by the Falcons back in 2011 after they yielded a massive haul to the Cleveland Browns in a trade-up on draft day. San Francisco added Aldon Smith with the seventh pick.

While Smith initially had success with the 49ers, helping the team reach contending status for the next couple seasons, he ultimately fell out of favor in San Francisco due to myriad off-field issues.

Meanwhile, Jones has racked up an astonishing 414 receptions for 6,201 yards in five NFL seasons. He led the league in receptions (136) and yards (1,871) last year.

While completely hypothetical, one has to wonder if Harbaugh’s tenure in San Francisco would have had a different end result if Atlanta didn’t trade up for Jones.

The leading receiver during Harbaugh’s four-year stint with the 49ers was Anquan Boldin back in 2013, when he tallied 1,179 yards.

One has to wonder how the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens and the following season’s NFC Championship game loss against Seattle might have turned out if Colin Kaepernick was throwing fades to Jones, not Michael Crabtree.