Jump to content

New Falcons brass plunging into overhaul


FalconMama
 Share

Recommended Posts

The NFL scouting combine is Thomas Dimitroff's playground.

The combine, which begins in earnest Thursday, is where the Falcons' new general manager can add to his knowledge of college prospects. It's his expertise as a longtime collegiate scout.

However, this is also where players and agents start shopping, bargaining and working backdoor deals with teams in preparation for the start of free agency Feb. 29.

That part of Dimitroff's new job is well out of his wheelhouse.

This is where Mike Smith comes in. The Falcons' new coach knows the NFL. From his days as Baltimore's defensive line coach and Jacksonville's defensive coordinator, he knows what players want. He also knows the angles agents and team officials play to make things happen.

Still, he's going to need Dimitroff when it comes to analyzing the players who are running, jumping and pushing weights over the next few days.

"This will be my first full combine," Smith said. "Usually, I would come in as a defensive coordinator or defensive assistant when the defensive players arrive. I'm excited about evaluating and learning about the offensive players. It will be my first exposure doing it.

"I've never written a report on an offensive guy."

However, Smith has schemed tendencies, toughness and playmaking ability of offensive players in his years of being a defensive coach. So he will know if a quarterback at the combine doesn't have a strong enough arm to make certain throws. He'll know if an offensive lineman has the athletic ability to open a hole at the point of attack, then position himself to run interference on a pursuing linebacker.

"He has unique perspective as an adept defensive coordinator," Dimitroff said. "I'm looking forward to his input on that side and the quarterback side. It will be invaluable. We'll watch hours and hours of footage on these guys going down the stretch"

After the combine, where on Friday the Falcons will learn their draft position, Dimitroff and Smith said they plan to bring about 30 prospects to Flowery Branch for private workouts and extensive interviews. Those players won't all be high draft picks, Dimitroff said.

The Falcons currently have nine picks, including two in the second and seventh rounds.

Dimitroff and Smith will have the final call on which players are acquired to rebuild a roster that is expected to be further reconstructed after last season's 4-12 record. However, they've received an abundance of help from the scouting and personnel staff.

Some of that help namely contract extension and trade talks has come from former GM and current president Rich McKay. Though McKay technically has been absolved of his football-related duties, some agents of existing players said they have been referred to him by Dimitroff and others because he has a history with them.

McKay is not the only resource Dimitroff will tap. Data collected by Falcons scouts for former coach Bobby Petrino won't be wasted, even though the new scheme and players required will be different.

"It would have been a wasted five, six, eight months if at the draft we didn't know what the scheme was," Dimitroff said. "Everyone is intelligent enough to adjust our assessment. Where we may have had a safety sitting at the top of the board, he may not fit into this system here, so we have to adjust his spot to, say, the fifth round."

The draft evaluation has hardly been the sole area of adjustment.

Dimitroff's vision of free agency has been a lot different, as in a lot more expensive than he expected. That means some of the $23 million the team aims to have in salary-cap space might come at the expense of some current players. The Falcons' recent string of losing, turmoil and instability might necessitate offering some free agents more than market value.

"I understand the market, and I understand I have to readjust my goals," Dimitroff said. "That's all it is, re-adjusting the thought process. Ideally this is not the situation, but let's be realistic. It's taking some adjusting."

Smith and Dimitroff declined specifics about which positions they've targeted for the draft and free agency. However, quarterback, the offensive and defensive lines, and safety were mentioned frequently in recent interviews.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dimitroff's vision of free agency has been a lot different, as in a lot more expensive than he expected. That means some of the $23 million the team aims to have in salary-cap space might come at the expense of some current players. The Falcons' recent string of losing, turmoil and instability might necessitate offering some free agents more than market value.

This isnt suprising..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...