Posted: 3:32 pm Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

On Dimitroff, Falcons’ draft board and Umenyiora 

By Jeff Schultz

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows owner Arthur Blank demands success. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff knows owner Arthur Blank demands success. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

I spent some time earlier in the week with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. The column, which can be viewed online now at MyAJC.com and is in print in Sunday’s newspaper, mostly focuses on how quickly Dimitroff lost the benefit of the doubt with many in the public after the team went from a perceived Super Bowl contender to finishing 4-12 last year.

Dimitroff has made several changes to his personnel staff and the Mike Smith’s coaching staff. He has issued a strong message to everybody in the team’s Flowery Branch complex: “OK. We’re 4-12. Adapt and deal with it.”

I hope you have a chance to read the column.

There are a few nuggets that didn’t make the column so I thought I would share them here:

There has been a lot of media speculation that the Falcons might release defensive ends Osi Umenyiora and/or Kroy Biermann, or seek to re-do their contracts with the idea of lowering their salary cap hit. But Dimitroff told me neither is going to happen.

Dimitroff on Umenyiora: “We never asked Osi to take a pay cut. As team builders you’re always analyzing the roster and shift into creative mode to find ways to restructure (contracts) and potentially reduce certain salaries. That goes for virtually everyone on the roster.  But Osi will be back with us, and we’re happy to have Osi back.”

Dimitroff on Biermann: “Kroy is healing well (from a torn Achilles) and we expect him to be a productive part of our defense.”

Though I speak to Dimitroff frequently, I hadn’t actually been in his office for a while. He had two very cool additions since the last time I was there: 1) An 80-inch television that hangs on the wall facing his desk. He said he, Scott Pioli and others often will watch tape on a player on that screen; 2) a 60-inch touch screen draft board, on which Dimitroff can access scouting reports and contract information on every player on every team, as well as depth charts for every team.

The long wall in Dimitroff’s office has an old school draft board. Players names, dimensions and bios are on magnets and hang in order of Dimitroff’s ranking. There are separate columns for 11 positions. There is not anything similar to an overall top 100 ranking of prospects, Dimitroff said, “But you can tell who’s still available during the draft just by looking at the top of the board.”

And yes, I was taking Dimitroff’s word for all of this because the board was covered, knowing I would be in there.

“I could show it to you, but then you would tell everybody you saw it,” he said.

He’s not very trusting. Can’t say I blame him.

• Dimitroff said he is “comfortable” with the team’s salary cap situation. At this point, it doesn’t seem likely the team will seek to restructure any player’s contract.

• I’ve written this before but here we go again: Notwithstanding some doubts about South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s motivation, Dimitroff and most NFL general managers view him as a special player, one too talented to pass up. Dimitroff reiterated what he indicated during Super Bowl week: he expects Clowney to be off the board after the first two picks of the draft (spots currently held by Houston and St. Louis). So if the Falcons plan to pursue Clowney, they will have to trade up because he is not going to fall to No. 6.

My sense of it is that there’s a chance the Falcons might trade up but it wouldn’t have to be for Clowney. There are other players on the board they like as well, including Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack and Auburn tackle Greg Robinson.

If Clowney, Mack and Robinson all are gone, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Falcons trade back in the round, knowing they can still get players they like with their first two picks. But adding a pass rusher and a tackle remain high priorities.

My conversation with Dimitroff came just prior to the signings of returner/receiver Devin Hester and returner/cornerback Javier Arenas. At the time he said he was still focused mostly on free agency, not the draft (May 8-10). “We’ll keep our eyes on potential free agent availability over the next few weeks before the draft. But there will be a point where our focus will be solely on the draft. Our goal at that point will be to acquire our final needs in the draft. That doesn’t mean post-draft we won’t look at possibilities. After the draft, we’ll see if there are any potential veterans that fit in.”

Some recent blogs and columns
– MyAJC ($): Did Dimitroff lose benefit of doubt after bad season?
– Blog: Mercer (Georgia’s shining light) stuns Duke
– MyAJC ($): SEC needs to go to nine-game schedule, eliminate cupcakes
– Blog: SEC needs to expand conference schedule (column preview)
– MyAJC ($): Richt has been tough, even if some haven’t noticed
– Blog: More arrests at UGA, and Herbstreit jumps Richt
– Blog: NFL must deal with Irsay (and Roddy White has his say)
– MyAJC ($):Georgia loses but Fox goes down swinging at NCAA
– MyAJC ($): Florida proving football school can win at hoops
– Blog: Bad sign? Florida struggles in win over Tennessee
– MyAJC ($): Georgia is given its chance to shine
– MyAJC ($): Page 2 special: College playoff arguments don’t make it wrong
– MyAJC ($): Falcons’ makeover has nice start but there’s more to do
– Blog: Braves make move for Santana, credit to Wren
– Blog: Falcons’ moves should improve both lines
– Blog: Braves now being bit by offseason decisions
– Blog: Braves’ rotation can’t afford Medlen’s loss
– MyAJC ($): Gregory says Tech needs to be tougher next season
– MyAJC ($): Nobody’s laughing at Ron Hunter, Georgia State now
– Blog: Denver to cut Champ Bailey, should Falcons cut him?
– MyAJC ($): Any use of ‘N’ word by athletes disrespects history
58 comments
MikeS777
MikeS777

Since the Falcons decided to do a no show for Jared Allen, Demarcus Ware, and Julius Peppers, I expect them to have their eyes on Clowney.  If they don't, then they had better be eyeing a good O lineman.  We need lineman and more lineman this year.  Both lines need to be upgraded drastically from last year.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady


TO: Falcons Draft Board


Jadeveon Clowney wants to play in Atlanta, the other draft choices could care less.

RX
RX

Jeff,  I know it is easy to say a team will trade back, but what happens when 3 or 4 teams ahead of you (and maybe Minnesota right behind you) also want to trade back?

It may not be feasible to trade back if teams are playing hardball with each other by squeezing trading pick value.


RangeRover
RangeRover

TD was SO lucky he came here with the #3 pick and Matt Ryan fell right into is lap.  With his blatant disregard toward the lines, coupled with the horrible FA's and draft picks thereof, without Ryan this would have been cumulatively a sub .500 team these past six years; with Ryan they have been mostly competitive.

Matt Ryan just may be the best thing ever to happen for this mostly miserable franchise.


JaySly
JaySly

if they miss the playoffs again, arthur needs to clean house---new Gm and coach!

TeddyJackEddy
TeddyJackEddy

I think Kahlil Mack is a riskier pick than most think. He arm tackles a lot because he often takes bad angles and he has to reach to grab the ball carrier. I haven't seen this mentioned. So, do I believe my eyes or what  I read? My eyes have served me well, so I'll go with them.

RandyFalcon
RandyFalcon

Michigan tackle Greg Robinson? As opposed to Alabama tackle Taylor Lewan?


SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

He still has both Mike Smith at the helm on Sundays and the weight of his own  poor decisions to carry. 

GEAUX SAINTS!!!

KennethGrim
KennethGrim

About Clowney's commitment/work ethic:  They said the same things about Warren Sapp and Emmitt Smith, so some teams ended up getting major draft day steals.

inoto20
inoto20

That super giant large tv sure hasn't helped with his drafting since he's been here. 

Paid/ premium ajc. lol.  that's like paying for chips and water at a mexican restaurant. 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

What the Falcons must build is a defense that is in the top twelve in the league in regular season. But in the playoffs be able to step it up from there.  The offense has to put up thirty points a game for them to be successful. So be able to rush the passer, run he football and be able to get off the field on third downs. They already addressed the kick-off and punt returner by adding Mr. Hester.......

forexbomb
forexbomb

Why in the world do you wear  a coat and tie to a football game!..  The falcons have NO chance without interior lines to anchor the team... I mean it doesn't take a rocket scientist ...  

Dman
Dman

Our two biggest needs are #1 OLB because we don't have one and only have 4 linebackers for 3 starting spots. Gotta get line backers in the draft. 2nd we don't have a free safety either. Gotta pick one of those too. Then we need lineman after that and a backup QB.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

tyger.....agree with most of what you posted but Holmes is green but has no potential.  When he played he only hurt the Falcons chances.  To me he was overmatched.  Can't see how he can make the final 53.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Shultz....Lewan is the Michigan Tackle. I'm sure you're aware of that & unless Hair-Gel has changed his modus operandi Lewan's frackus following the OSU game likely pulled him off the Falcons draft board. :(

----

Osi is the best we got. Absolutely no need to part ways with him. He's miles ahead of #71.

If the Falcons come outta the draft picking OT, TE & S in the top 3 rounds, we better hold on to the only guy on the roster capable of a pass rush.

---

"An 80-inch television that hangs on the wall facing his desk. He said he, Scott Pioli and others often will watch tape on a player on that screen"...............Where's Smitty!!?? Why isn't the HC breaking down players with the GMs? I know Smitty doesn't understand what he's looking at, but shouldn't he be in the room evaluating players?

JaySly
JaySly

maybe thomas can trade 5 picks for another receiver!

JacketMan
JacketMan

Based on the recent Free Agent signings (virtually all on the defensive side of the Line of Scrimmage), and the fact the Falcons recently invested over $100M in their "franchise" QB, as well as already traded up with Cleveland a couple of years ago to get Wide Receiver, Julio Jones (giving up several draft picks in the transaction), one would have to think the Falcons Management would HAVE to use their First Round Draft Choice on on Offensive Lineman so Ryan has time to complete passes to Jones, White and Company.

Bottom line is that if Matt Ryan is continually sacked, knocked down, hurried, flushed, etc., and doesn't even have time to make decent passes to his Wide Receivers, WHY even make the HUGE investments in Ryan and Jones in the first place?

In the event the Falcons first choices of O-Linemen are gone when they draft, and they have guys they feel comfortable with as their "secondary" choices (the players from Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia, Miami, etc), then I agree; trade back to get the extra picks so they can address the other needs as well, such as Safety or rush End/Outside Linebacker. Heck, they may even be able to pick up a couple of the O-Linemen by trading back, and one of these guys as well, or a First Round pick next season.

But as I said earlier, it makes no business sense to make the times of financial commitments the Falcons already have on Ryan and Jones if they can't give Ryan to do his job.

ConfederateFlagBurner
ConfederateFlagBurner

1. Khalil Mack (OLB)

2. Cyrus Kouandjio or Ja'Waun James (OT)

3. Jerimiah Attaochu or Kyle Van Noy (OLB)

4  Marcel Jensen (TE)

5. Max Bullough (ILB)

6. Cameron Flemming or Michael Schofield (OT)

7. Trai Turner (C)


Let me pick the draft. 

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Rise Up and Trade Up for Jadeveon Clowney.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Takes two to slow down Clowney's speed.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@RandyFalcon  Lewan plays for Michigan, and Robinson plays for Auburn. Not Alabama. I hope you knew that.

kerryb
kerryb

@BigCrimson75  How do you know Smith doesn't do that?  You're just assume and you know what they say about that.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Fish-house....Get ready to be a Vikings fan.

JSSN
JSSN

@Esquire @SeenThatB4  

Y'all (self-professed "troll fighters") come a running...Your "Master's" calling!

"This calling card isn't intended for the target, in fact is rarely perceptible to the target, but rather is geared towards other trolls. Not only does the reference claim victory for the initiating troll, it also tends to incite further trolling behaviors. This is how most raids get started -- a troll essentially calls for backup, and other trolls, who are attuned to those sorts of signals, come running." --Whitney Phillips

SMDH

JSSN
JSSN

@BigCrimson75  

How much do you remember about the whole Reggie Kelly/O.J. Santiago fiasco?

Esquire
Esquire

@JSSN


I always assumed you were male but you keep quoting all these girls I am beginning to wonder.

Esquire
Esquire

@JSSN


Nope.....retribution was the word I used and I used it succinctly. You should know as much as anyone I don't need you to tell me what I meant.....but you have become a troll as much as anyone.............and I honestly didn't used to get that vibe from you......just a crotchety old man.   And that quote by Jodi Picoult  is about the stupidest thing you have ever posted.

JSSN
JSSN

@Esquire

“Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.” 
― Mark Twain

You just don't get it. It is not "retribution." You are just placating yourself (or whatever conscience you're using) with that idea. Unless you're to stand "face-to-face" with anyone (if that were a viable state of being) and rationally argue the issue. You misquote Whitney by the way, because she clearly states that nearly 20 years later being a "troll" (or those who are clearly acolytes of those individuals or ideologies) have transcended the concept as it was known!

"It is important to note that trolling is not a one-size-fits-all behavioral category. I've worked with certain trolls who take great pleasure in taunting the friends and family of murdered teenagers. I've worked with other trolls who are disgusted by this sort of behavior and instead restrict their focus to trolling other trolls. Some trolls are very intelligent, and have extremely interesting things to say about trolling, while others have no real opinion about anything they do, other than the fact that it makes them laugh. Just as there are many different kinds of trolls, there are many different ways to troll. Some trolling is relatively innocuous, for example trolling that redirects targets to absurd images or videos. Some trolling meets the legal criteria for harassment, and can persist for weeks or even months." - Whitney Phillips

“Sometimes, when you don't ask questions, it's not because you are afraid that someone will lie to your face. It's because you're afraid they'll tell you the truth.” 
― Jodi Picoult

Esquire
Esquire

@JSSN               Whitney continues, "In the '90s, "to troll" was to disrupt a conversation or entire community by posting incendiary statements or stupid questions onto a discussion board."  This fits your last post perfectly.  But she continues to say the most important statement about trolls is this:  Trolling is a game, one only the trolls can initiate and only the troll can win."  

.

Yes, I hit NOLA and dished out some pain but it was retribution, not trolling.  I am done with the trolls friend.  You know the Twain quote, 

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

.

.

And one more thing....................

.

.........................WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Btw, Baltimore used our 1st rounder on Jamaal Lewis. :(

That was a loaded draft Reeves decided to pull us out of....Urlacher, among others was available when Ozzie picked Lewis.

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Jss...What do you mean?

I remember Reeves slinging a 1st rounder the following year to move up in Rd 2 in order to take Kelly.

I remember Santiago having a good rookie season when we went to the SB. He started the "Dirty Bird" in NE in fact, then fell off the face the Earth(Cleveland to be exact which is probably worse) following the '98 year!