A strong draft at a needed time for the new-look Falcons

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

All smiles: Dimitroff, Beasley, Quinn. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

This seemed the Atlanta Falcons’ strongest draft since 2008. (Yes, it helps when your first pick is in the top 10.) I’ve heard the selection of Vic Beasley in Round 1 described as “a Quinn pick,” as opposed to “a Dimitroff pick” — or “a Pioli pick” or “a Blank pick” — but I don’t see where it matters. The Falcons addressed their position of greatest need with the eighth overall pick, and everything flowed from there.

Yes, the three failed drug tests of cornerback Jalen Collins (Round 2) give a bit of pause — Georgia fans can gripe again about the difference between the Bulldogs’ standards and, say, LSU’s — but if not for those, Collins mightn’t have been available with the 42nd pick. Getting Tevin Coleman in Round 3 addressed the need for a running back; Justin Hardy (Round 4) fills the hole left by slot receiver Harry Douglas’ departure. Landing defensive lineman Grady Jarrett in Round 5 was a steal: ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated him the 51st-best player in this draft; the Falcons grabbed him with the 137th pick.

Whoever made these picks — and I suspect the answer was “all of the above,” perhaps excluding Arthur Blank — went about his/their business with a purpose and a clarity not always seen in Flowery Branch. There were no wild reaches unless you consider Beasley, ranked No. 25 overall by ESPN but clearly more productive than that, at least as a pass rusher.

If there was a real “Quinn pick,” it was Collins, who’s 6-foot-1 1/2, 203 pounds. (Richard Sherman of Seattle, Dan Quinn’s previous employer, is 6-3, 195.) There’s lots of speed — Quinn likes speed, but really, who doesn’t? — and it’s noteworthy that three of the first five picks were spent on defenders. (Perhaps not that noteworthy, though: Seven of the Falcons’ nine picks last year were devoted to defense, not that it showed.)

This marked the fourth time in eight Dimitroff drafts that the first choice in Round 1 wasn’t an offensive player — previous examples included Peria Jerry and Sean Weatherspoon, who couldn’t stay healthy, and Desmond Trufant, who’s really good — but it’s the first time under Dimitroff the Falcons have spent a pick higher than No. 19 on a defender. (Maybe that’s how you wind up with the NFL’s worst defense.)

When you go 4-12 followed by 6-10, you have issues — too many to rectify (using a Dimitroff word) in one draft. But this draft was a confident first step on the road to rectifyin’.

Reader Comments 0

82 comments
SeanLB
SeanLB

Many of you don't understand how the GM/Coach relationship works.  The Coach outlines what he needs and the General Manager handles the compilation of scouting reports, etc.  There have long been whispers that it was MIKE SMITH that said he "needed" Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai.  Further, it was MIKE SMITH that said he needed Steven Jackson.  TD executed it, so of course he takes some of the blame, but many of you don't understand front office football.


The truth is this:  TD has taken some heat, and rightfully so.  But, it became clear that Mike Smith didn't really have a plan or direction, so what he was telling TD he "needed" was simply throwing things at the wall to see what sticks.


Dimitroff isn't a world-beater by any means, but to say that he needed to go before Smith is silly.  Mike Smith had PTSD from the GB playoff game and simply couldn't recover.  He was a goober who's message had grown tired in Flowery Branch.  

SeanLB
SeanLB

In other words, it's about communication.  Quinn relayed to TD what he needed, they reviewed things together and made decisions.  If this draft turns out to be incredible, TD will need to get some praise for that.  It's a team effort and Mike Smith was in WAY over his head.  

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . If Mike Smith was a Goober with a tired message, Thomas (Blame Smitty) Dimitroff is a Gomer with no message at all.

JSSN
JSSN

@AlwaysReady

Did George Young know Sean's worldliness? 

They both needed to go!

Floppy
Floppy

the Falcons need the Price Line Negotiator!!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Hope it all works well for the Birds. Got to get off the field on defense. The pressure to score on every series just to keep pace takes a toll mentally. I think the RB from the Hoosiers will be a big plus.

Dude is right Gregory was the preferred dope smoker but it was plain to see that Dimitroff was just handing out coffee.


if he would have been in charge you could have bet your youngest child the whole draft would have been a complete flop.

candlin14
candlin14

Picking Jalen Collings over Randy Gregory will one day be like Dimitrioffs famous Pierria Jerry pick over Clay Mathews. We could have got TWO pass rushers instead of one. We could have hall of fame corner backs on our roster and they would get eaten up with the lack of pass rushers we possess. 


I like all the picks except the Jalen Collins. Defensive Back is something we should have targeted in Free Agency. A rookie can not be relied upon come week one. We tried that two years ago with Trufant and Alford. Alford is a disaster but its hard to examine our secondary until we get a pass rush that is not laughable.


Once again, could have had Gregory in 2nd round!!!

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

@candlin14  Fans would love to hear why Collings was picked over Gregory. On paper, Gregory is the winner hands down.

Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

Undersized DE 230 lbs with only one move and a probability of getting suspended a bunch like Dion Jordan and Aldon Smith I can see why the Falcons passed on Gregory

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

TD must have really pi__sed off his barber!

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

I think the picks were pretty darn good. You never know what intangibles such as injuries and what not can come into play later. Some picks will make you look good and some may not. It is always a bit of a guessing game with some players, so you pick some that appear good when it is your turn to select, and hope for the best.

moh236
moh236

Any word on the free agents we signed after the draft? I haven't seen the list yet.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

To me it all starts with The Coach because he has to mold the team and in Quinn we have a great one. So we don't need to shove bad choices that have been made in the past down his throat. Let him do his job, and move forward going backwards get you nowhere. GO FALCONS!!!   55 years a fan here, and when the Falcons are not in it I don't jump on the bandwagon of another team, the season is over for me. I love 3.5 hours from Atlanta, And I am a big fan of all Atlanta Sports. I find no need to go into Carolina or Florida to follow a team

Michaelee
Michaelee

@SomewherenSGa I followed the team all the way down to the 10 yard line in the NFC Championship game against the Niners to watch em fold up and go home. After that loss, the Falcons fell all to pieces. It will probably take a few years for them to get back to that caliber of football if they CAN get back to being a contender for the big dance.

A few players on the team from the Mike Smith era need to go. This team is in the rebuilding process, so let us see the new coach rebuild this team from the ground up and make them a contender once again. The only team in the NFC South that can win the division is Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Maybe the Falcons can turn it around this year and win the division crown, but I doubt that they will make any noise in the playoffs.

Who really can know though as anything can happen game to game and especially if a team makes a playoff run. I remain optimistic and give them a 8-8 or 9-7 year for this season, although anything can happen in football.

irishmafia1457
irishmafia1457

LOL funny that most media give the Falcons a C  nope not the AJC .....as in all Atlanta sports  they live in a fantasy world where all the ATL/GA teams will be historically good!

geraldscott
geraldscott

Or fansided, the Washington Post, bleacher report...

dirtybirdrises
dirtybirdrises

What's funny is that you don't have a clue what you're talking about.. nobody gave atlanta less than a B in the draft... if you gonna make idiotic statements, at least be right @irishmafihigs

Bearrib1
Bearrib1

@irishmafiahigs Don't know what you're reading because most of the media I read give the Falcons a B or better.

Leviathan
Leviathan

Name 5 that gave a C or stfu.

Terrytime
Terrytime

Falcon fans, let us just hope we are heading n the right direction. I have been rooting for the Falcons 49yrs. Go FALCONS!

Gman84
Gman84

So we drafted the Clemson D line and a running back from Indiana, big deal. 


Think I'll wait to see if any of these guys can play (and see if the coach can coach) before I get too excited. Don't trust anything they do as long as TD is involved. He should have been out the door before Smith.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@Gman84 I would tend to agree with you, but the players they picked signals to me that TD was clearly NOT the final voice in this draft.  If so, that was a good thing.  Although I found it disingenuous and insulting that he blamed Smitty for never having drafted a good pass rusher in the 7 years prior.  Professionalism fail right there.

didyou
didyou

@GaLatino @Gman84 TD did have final say on the draft. He had a great relationship with MS and he was never throwing him under the bus but as an organization they decided to take a system specific approach to drafting and Smiths defensive philosophy was play zone confuse quarterbacks and not be too concerned with sacks..In Smith and Nolan's careers their defences have never finished in top 15 in sacks(except Ravens). So when they drafted edge rushers were never a priority. Now Quinn's attacking style will allow athletes to be athletes and the draft and FA approach changes. So while Bradley leads us to believe Dimitroff was being disingenuous or unprofessional, he was taken out of context.

k483
k483

Seriously,  do we believe the D will be "fixed" with this draft?  We have no idea whether or not these guys will be busts, or even starters.  It seems we have a much longer way to go.  

reckingball
reckingball

@k483

It should be improved with these added players and new coaching staff.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@k483  One thing is certain. It can't be any worse! I think we'll know during pre-season how the guys play. One thing you can find out early is if they play with passion  and play hard. The talent on paper is much improved.

BertnErnie
BertnErnie

The folks at Flowery Branch need to draft a new tailor.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I agree this draft looks really good on paper. I have to ask the posters, though, how do you KNOW Dan Quinn "is a huge improvement over Mike Smith"? The ONLY way he can be a "huge improvement" is to get the Falcons to the Super Bowl, and there is a LOT of opportunity for downside vs. Smith's record in Atlanta.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@DawgDadII  Mike Smith and his staff cost us the games against Cleveland and Detroit. He even called a defensive timeout against Detroit when they had none. He was horrible making in game adjustments. His early record may have been good but how many times did he beat the Saint's? At best he was an average coach and IMO the Falcon's won (when they did) in spite of him. Just my opinion!

JackClemens
JackClemens

@DanJohn Mediocre doesn't come in after Petrino debacle and go 11-5, and put up two 13-3 seasons as well. When Smitty had players he won. Between injuries and bad drafts, there became too few players.

candlin14
candlin14

@DanJohn @DawgDadII


Matt Ryans brutal interception against the Lions didnt have anything to do with the loss??? Our awful defense or play calling from Mike Nolan didnt have anything to do with the losses versus Detroit or Cleveland. Julio Jones dropping a much needed reception to keep the clock moving versus Detroit was Smiths fault??? Cmon man... Mike Smith turned this horrible franchise around. Quit blaming the best Coach this city has ever seen.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

If the Falcons have a third straight losing season, 

Thomas Dimitroff should be fired for cause.

Dman
Dman

I see the rebuild as a two year process. This year was to fix the defense and next year will be to build the OLine and another wide receiver to replace Roddy White. I do believe we will be better than last year. I can't wait until August 14th vs. the Titans...

DanJohn
DanJohn

I think the Falcons D will be greatly improved. My only concern is the OL. However I think a zone blocking scheme will help the running backs. Freeman & Coleman & Smith should improve on last years YPC. In the NFC South the Falcon's should have a chance. I don't think they'll compete for a Super Bowl in the next couple of years but this draft will help. I think 9-7 or even 10-6  is possible. We lost two games last year on poor coaching and clock management. Dan Quinn is a huge improvement over Mike Smith. I'm extremely happy with the draft and time will tell how good it really is.