Jim Harbaugh: 49ers wanted to draft Julio Jones

Jim Harbaugh showed up Tuesday to his latest satellite-camp stop, on the campus of South Alabama, wearing a Julio JonesAtlanta Falcons jersey.

His explanation of the jersey choice offered a glimpse into how different the 2011 NFL draft might have shaken out had things gone the way Harbaugh, the 49ers' head coach at the time, had hoped.

"I've always had a ton of respect for Julio Jones," Harbaugh said, per a video posted to Scout.com (via ESPN). "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 people. And I'm a jersey guy. I like jerseys."

The Falcons traded up to the No. 6 pick in 2011 and took Jones one pick before the 49ers were on the clock. San Francisco took Aldon Smith at No. 7.

So, perhaps Harbaugh wasn't trolling Alabama coach Nick Saban with the Jones jersey, as was the speculation du jour on Tuesday. The two coaches have sparred in the past week over satellite camps and Jones, of course, played for Saban at Alabama. Instead of taking a jab, it appears Harbaugh was tipping his cap with the Jones threads.

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