NFL combine: Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff

Indianapolis — Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff addressed several topics — including free agency,

Thomas Dimitroff

Thomas Dimitroff

Julius Peppers and the drafting of Matt Ryan --  at the NFL scouting combine on Saturday.

OPENING STATEMENT: How is everyone doing? This is my 21st combine and honestly I never get tired and continue to be ramped up by the thought of new and improving additions to our team. Going into 2010 for Atlanta, (there is) no question that we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of . . . actually I think where we need the most improvement is in the side of consistency. We talked about that last year. That was the one element that I think was lacking across the board. There’s room for evaluation at every level. Myself included and we are looking forward to continuing to improve and this is a great place for us to start. So, with that, any questions? I’ll be happy to try to answer.

Q: How has the combine been thus far, especially today with the drills starting?

A: This is always the best part. Leading  up to this time it drags on a but when you actually get a chance to put your eyes on some of these athletes and you can juxtapost these athletes with other athletes from around the country, and how they actually perform in those drills. Again, it’s not actually competition on the field with pads on, but you really get a chance to see how these players are going to move. You get to see them live and in person. . . it really starts to pull things together as far as our draft board.

Q: What is your philosophy in general with your first round pick, do you trade up or back and collect value?

A: My feeling has always been that it’s contingent on the draft. It depends on where we are. What we are looking for. The strength at that position. That’s what really determines if we will trade down or back or out of the first round. I will tell you that it’s like almost going into a holiday season and expecting that gift and then moving out of the first round and not having that prime gift is pretty difficult. . . . all the work that you do as a scouting staff and as an organization, walking away without a first round pick seems anticlimactic. I would venture to say that you’d rarely see that with me, but you know how things go. Things can change depending on the talent there and what we are looking for.

Q: Did you field many trade offers when you had a top five pick?

A: At three? We didn’t field that many. . .we knew had to stand pat. It really wasn’t that much action on the third. It’s a high dollar pick obviously. You have to have owner that is understanding as far as putting the money out.

Q: Is it you feeling that teams are reluctant to trade up?

A: It is my feeling. Every year you have people inquire about how to have someone move up to the single digit picks and sometimes they’ll void that and try to get to the middle of the round. Fortunately, that’s were we are this year. . .when I was involved with the Patriots we were always right around there. It’s a very good value pick. I personally feel quite comfortable in that area and picking in that area.

Q: You all had to put a lot of thought into picking Matt Ryan with a top five pick?

A: We did. That took a lot of time, effort and consideration. We thought often about, should we try to move back. Again, as we really looked at that, especially knowing that there was a quarterback there that we were comfortable with, it wasn’t as difficult. But other positions, defensive line, you can make a lot of mistakes throughout the history of the draft on defensive line that early as well. That just happened to be the other position that we were seriously considering. Again, we’ve had the good fortune to date and we feel confident that we are moving in the right direction with Matt Ryan. Before it’s all said and done with that pick, we feel comfortable with what we did.

Q: Historically, there is little movement on the restricted free agency front. With the talented and expanded pool do you thing there will be more movement this year?

A: I believe there is going to be that much more contemplation to see who actually pulls the trigger, will be very interesting. I want to see what comes up in the tenders. I think it will be an interesting dynamic to see who’s going to be moving during that time. I think again, there will be a lot more interest to see how many people do go after (restricted free agents).

Q: What will free agency be like this offseason?

A: I’ve got round and round about leading into this part of the preparation time. There aren’t that many players who will be out there with the U slash RFA players due to the CBA. In the past, we would have seen a lot more numbers out there. We would have been contemplating which March 5th came around if we were going to jump in there and we’d be really busy during that time. I sense that we are a lot more focused, seemingly this year on draft preparation. Usually we take this is cycles or segments. This was definitely a free agent segment leading up to beginning of free agency. Now we tend to be focusing on the draft, that much earlier. I will be interested to see how much interest there is going into free agency with the fewer numbers. I think there are some really good players out there. But personally, we’ll really kick that off on the 5th of March.

Q: Are you all in a position to go after Julius Peppers?

A: When the 5th comes around and we’re ready to focus on free agency, we’ll can really focus on it, we’ll be open to considering any possibilities. We’ll research it hard. That’s part of our jobs. We’ll look at all of the players that are of interest to us and who we deem as good fiscally responsible moves. That will be an important thing for us as a team.

24 comments Add your comment

Daniel Weiss

February 27th, 2010
4:32 pm

The Real Falcon

February 27th, 2010
4:37 pm


falcon fan

February 27th, 2010
4:42 pm

Wow is picture from a camera phone. I would think you could do better Ledbetter.

JL Burke

February 27th, 2010
4:45 pm

What do you think the chances are that the Falcons trade their 1st round pick for multiple picks, including a 2nd rounder? Most analysts seem to feel this draft is very deep with defensive talent and that you could get 1st round caliber talent in the 2nd round. If the Falcons could get an extra pick to plug another hole, that makes sense to me.


February 27th, 2010
4:51 pm

I concur heartily with your line of thinking. A trade with SD makes a lot of sense to me right now.


February 27th, 2010
5:05 pm

Have the Falcons appeared interested in taking any offensive linemen in this draft? Discussions with any players or does that come later? Other than Suh and other unattainables, is there anybody you’ve seen at any position of need that has the wow factor. Always appreciate your insight.


February 27th, 2010
5:13 pm

Waynester–what you mean trade with SD? That’s a college team. Falcons can’t trade with a college team. It’s not right.


February 27th, 2010
6:03 pm

DOL, thanks great but awkward read. Seams like some words didnt transfer to the web or TD doesn’t speak well; but hey, he got in “juxtapost” which is always a winner. Keep up the great work, looking forward to SPOON/GRAHAM interviews.

Hawk n the Ham

February 27th, 2010
6:08 pm

That picture is horrible Ledbetter. If you guys need a freelance photog, hit me up :)


February 27th, 2010
6:16 pm

The man don’t really give you to much to go on…very smart. He just don’t let our any secrets. I trust Dimitroff to get the job done.


February 27th, 2010
6:22 pm

Spiller if he’s there! Graham if he’s not!


February 27th, 2010
6:23 pm

I can tell you’re a self-taught writer, Ledbetter. I admire you for that. Now that you have the writing down, your next step is to write lucid sentences; when you get that done, you might then work toward coherent paragraphs.


February 27th, 2010
6:32 pm

We should stand pat and take the highest rated player on our draft board. There will be several talented players available at positions of need that can help us immediately. Among these players likely will be Cody, Dunlap, Kindle, Witherspoon, Dan Williams, and think of the possibility of C. J. Spiller. I don’t think we need to draft a CB with this pick.


February 27th, 2010
6:32 pm

DOL- I’m a huge fan but it does not read right. But I could care less about grammer. I want the info, which you give us, tks!

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February 27th, 2010
7:57 pm

Notice TD gave absolutely nothing away. We learned nothing from his remarks. Maybe he’s a bit smarter than I’ve given him credit for.


February 27th, 2010
8:14 pm

DOL, you have been giving us some good info today. Good job and thank you.

Poppa Falcon

February 27th, 2010
8:56 pm

I wonder if Dimitroff is a poker player, because he has the best poker face I’ve ever seen. He is ABSOLUTELY not giving away his position. One thing is for CERTAIN; there will be a ton of great defensive talent at the 19th pick. It’s actually not a matter of who we pick, but more hope & faith that the pick delivers the goods! Awesome job, DOL!

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February 27th, 2010
10:05 pm

Check out Peria’s little brother at the combine. Looks athletically like a major upgrade over either current guard. OK I admit, having brothers on the same team just sounds cool. I would travel to Flowery Branch to see the brothers head to head in practice. Besides, it would be something positive to fill 20 minutes of airtime before a MNF/playoff game besides “…it’s been three years since Michael Vick…”

Sly Ty

February 27th, 2010
10:34 pm

Poppa Falcon love u on sirius NFL radio, and agree that the Mad Scientist, Dimitroff, hasn’t given up any plans on his intentions for his plans. I trust what Dimitroff does with his picks. We finally had back to back winning seasons.

Just saying..

February 28th, 2010
11:11 am

Heresy here, but if this is such a deep draft, what would Tony Gonzalez bring in trade? Norwood?


February 28th, 2010
3:08 pm

I’m just sayin’ it too– especially in the case of (here’s the heresy) fan-favorite fun fishin’ Jerious Norwood. If he can pass the physical, we could re-sign and trade for high value mid-round picks….just sayin’…

[...] Orlando Ledbetter has two great interview recaps of Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff discussing the evaluations of last years team, preparations for this years draft, and preparations [...]