Q&A: Falcons’ Dimitroff holds post-draft briefing

Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Sean Weatherspoon (shown with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff) addresses the media during a press conference Friday at the team's facility in Flowery Branch. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Sean Weatherspoon (shown with Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff) addresses the media during a press conference Friday at the team's facility in Flowery Branch. Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here’s part of the Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff post-draft media briefing.

He talks about all of the pick and addresses why the team did not draft a defensive end.

1 Sean Weatherspoon OLB Missouri 19th

3 Corey Peters DT Kentucky 83rd

3 Mike Johnson OL Alabama 98th

4 Joe Hawley OL UNLV 117th

5 Dominique Franks CB Oklahoma 135th

5 Kerry Meier WR Kansas 165th

6 Shann Schillinger S Montana 171st

DIMITROFF ON FRANKS: “We had an opportunity to acquire a corner who had ,fortunately for us, dropped in the draft a great deal from where he was projected. He’s a fast individual who brings us another good size corner to throw into the competition there in (the) secondary. It will be good to see how that competition works out for Dominique. He also has return skills, which should not be under-stated.

DIMITROFF ON MEIER: “He’s another very smart football player. He was a converted quarterback, who has the skills. He has a very good set of hands. He’s a very good concentration guy. He’s a smart football player and knows the field very well from his time as a quarterback. Again, we are looking forward to him competing for one of the receiver spots. He has good size. He’s a good target.”

DIMITROFF ON SCHILLINGER: “He was a safety that we were focused in on. We brought him in here during our top 30 visits. He’s a guy that we have a good feel for as far as his ability to move around. He’s a speed guy. He’s fast. He’s 4.50 guy at 200 pounds. He can fly around the field. He’s a very smart football player. Hopefully, we’ll have Kroy Biermann help him out along the way and be one of his Montana brethren. He will compete for one of the safety spots as well as be a legitimate potential core specials teams guy. . . Most ideally, he’s a free safety.”

Then he opened the floor for questions.

Q: How is Meier’s speed?

A: “He came in at 4.59. He’s right on that borderline into the 4.6s. But he’s a guy who is 220 pounds, is a good route runner and has a good feel of the field as far as getting to the open spot. You combine that with his concentration and hands, we were comfortable with them.”

Q: “I read some not so positive things about Franks’ play (get beats a lot, reacts poorly to ball in air, heel striker), were those some of reasons why he slipped? Had some bad tape?”

A: “Interestingly enough, I’m not exactly sure why he (slipped). We’ve done a lot of work on the secondary. We always will. Year in and year out, that will be a focused position for us. In the National Football League (you want) to make sure that you’re dialed in on your secondary. As we all know, we saw some of the repercussions of the challenging situations from last year. With that said, we’ve had a number of conversations with a number of teams who were really surprised that he did fall to that point. To me and to our organization, we didn’t expect him to be there because there was a real run on corners after that. There might have been five or six corners who flew off the board. The idea that we were able to get a guy that had good size, he’s proven himself in a league that is a very pass-happy league as well. Again, I can’t stress the fact that not only that, he’s got very fluid movement and he’s got very good return skills that we can build on.”

Q: Have you talked to the Meier family to send your condolences regarding the tragic death of his brother this week?

A: “I haven’t talked to them personally. I have talked to Kerry and delivered the message that he was going to in fact be pick. It’s a very unfortunate and heartbreaking story. To be quite honest with you, when I was talking to him I had that proverbial lump in the throat. You could tell how excited they were. You could hear his family in the background. My heart goes out to the family.”

Q: What was the rationale behind the decision not to take a defensive end in this draft?

A: “We were focused in the first round. . . we decided that with the movement up to the point on picking Sean Weatherspoon that we were going to go with a linebacker. Past that point there were a certain amount of defensive ends that we’d consider. It got to a point . . . like any time when you are talking about marquee pass rushers (were there wasn’t any left.) People that we thought could come in here and be a marquee player for years to come, those players usually go off the board quite a bit earlier than we might have considered. There were some good football players out there. There were some other situations where they might not necessarily fit into our system. So in the end, we feel very strongly about our young guys. We want to continue to develop Lawrence Sidbury. Obviously, Kroy Biermann is a guy who can get us some legitimate pressure. We truly believe as an organization that John Abraham still has the ability to get up the field and around the corner and can still bend naturally. We are hoping that through our continued concentration inside, whether if its with Peria Jerry coming back or Corey Peters, that we are going to open up things on the outside a little bit. As I mentioned before, there are a number of ways to eliminate the explosive plays in the passing game and to improve our pass rush. Not just on the outside, but through the inside and with pressure being created with linebacker blitzes. We have a linebacker that has just joined us in the draft who has legitimate speed. I think we can be creative going forward.”

Q: Is Jamaal Anderson still viewed as an end or is he a full-time tackle now?

A: “He’s still going to be viewed as a defensive end slash defensive tackle. He’s a guy that has some versatility and Coach Smith has talked about it a number of times. There will be scenarios where he’ll be reduced (inside) and other times where he’ll be expected to be outside in the regular defense. We’ll be creative with our sub defense as far as getting the right mix of who we feel are the right pass rushers from play to play.”

Q: What do you have against the Big Ten? (Now, in 26 picks over three drafts, Dimitroff has not selected one player from the Big Ten)

A: “I don’t have anything against them. I love watching their football. I don’t have anything against the Big Ten.”

Q: Do you think Jimmy Clausen could start in Carolina?

A: “Having been under the tutelage of Charlie Weis, he is definitely pro ready. I not very happy to see someone who we determine as being a very good prospect going to a team in our division. Good for them that they got him, but we have to look at it closely.”

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121 comments Add your comment

McBubba

April 24th, 2010
5:09 pm

Come on Birds..
Brandon Lang!
Give the hometown kid some Love!

RobbE33

April 24th, 2010
5:14 pm

I’ve learned to trust TD & Smitty’s staff. We’ve come so far, considering where we’ve been. Let’s get it started!

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
5:14 pm

Yep Brandon Lang. Hopefully he goes undrafted and we sign him as an undrafted free agent. He will be a HUGE steal.

Jeff

April 24th, 2010
5:15 pm

ask why he didn’t draft skill players that would help us in 2010 not 2011 and beyond… ask him how much mckay had to do with the terrible selections.

John Falcon

April 24th, 2010
5:19 pm

We need speed. We just took a step back against Carolina, Tampa and the Saints.

I do agree with Peters—he was one of the few solid DT against the pass, rest were run stuffers. Still we need speed at WR and DE.

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
5:19 pm

Jeff shut the heck up. Let the season come and go before you say anything. Brandon Lang goes undrafted. Come on Falcons lets get him.

filtar21

April 24th, 2010
5:20 pm

i still wish we couldve traded out of the first and got two second rounders we could have taken sergio kindle and another linebacker. weatherspoon is good but not good enough that we couldve have done just as well in the second. baltimore new england seattle and cincy i think had great drafts.

Jeff

April 24th, 2010
5:21 pm

Tosin- Are you 12? we didn’t help ourselves this year.

Chop Buster

April 24th, 2010
5:23 pm

There are always so many unknowns with the draft. Some of the guys who we think will come in and dominate don’t, some we never heard of turn out to be play makers, some of the undrafted will be starters. We have to trust that our scouts know that these guys can make our team better. Only time will tell if this draft was a good one or not.

Jeff

April 24th, 2010
5:26 pm

Chop- Agree, but we need to win now. not next year, or the year after, or the year after that. We simply didn’t draft any players to help us win now!

Chop Buster

April 24th, 2010
5:26 pm

One more thing…some of the fans will always know more about which players the team should draft than the people Arthur hired to do so. LOL…y’all crack me up. Ain’t a damn thing any of us can do about who this team picks up–except find another team to support if you don’t like it.

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
5:28 pm

Jeff- Im actually 13 and there were questionable picks but you never now how they turn out untill they hit the field in Week 1.

Reid Adair

April 24th, 2010
5:29 pm

Thomas Dimitroff and MIke Smith have earned my respect with what they’ve done to this point. I have no reason to believe that this draft would be anything different.

I look forward to seeing these new guys progress in the Falcons’ system.

Jeff

April 24th, 2010
5:29 pm

you can jump on the bandwagon if you want. I don’t know who woulf have helped us this year, but I know linemen will not. We were young enough already.

Chop Buster

April 24th, 2010
5:30 pm

Jeff, I’m with you on winning now. But what can we do about it as a fan? We can only hope that between our current players, draftees and unsigned FAs we will be better than we were next year. There’s always a diamond in the rough that can be that difference maker. It’s all in how our coaches prepare these younger guys. Look how we competed with a secondary that was almost nonexistent last year. We can only get better.

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
5:30 pm

Plus if the Falcons are looking in the direction of RB, they could sign Stafon Johnson RB out of southern Cal. He’s a powerful runner who has a good work ethic. He also has good character.

Jeff

April 24th, 2010
5:37 pm

I wonder what impact it had on our draft with us getting rid of a couple of long time scouts a few months back? and TD standing behind their opinions since he hired them?

Scott Anderson

April 24th, 2010
5:39 pm

Is this really the way Dimitroff speaks ?

You guys make him sound like a moran with all the mis-spoken words.

Geezzz

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waht???

April 24th, 2010
5:44 pm

we lost 7 games last year because we have no pass rush…. we did not address that in this draft??? we passed on everson griffen(twice), ricky sapp, antonio coleman, brandon lang…we need pass rushers!!!!

Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
5:44 pm

@Jeff:

Linemen will not help us this year?

You do know this is football, right?

Guys go down, and you need solid, coachable, tough guys who can step in at multiple positions.

But nah, let’s not get any linemen.

You are depressingly wrong-headed, and apparently want to dominate this blog today. So enjoy. Just finally had to step up after the linemen thing.

So Jeff...

April 24th, 2010
5:47 pm

you only want to win this year, and not in the future? Weird… I like to see my team succeed all the time… LOL

ian

April 24th, 2010
5:51 pm

well every good team starts up front.ol and dl.if these new ogs can run block than we will kill teams with a good passing attack couse we can eat up the clock.and the new dt is a space eater.if he can get double teams than jb and ja will improve the pass rush.none of the pics were flashy but ol and dl is where it starts.if you give matty ice time he can eat you up.the pics dident trill me but i think they will pay off big in the long run.

Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
6:05 pm

@Jeff, I’m going to go ahead and tell you how we “helped ourselves” in this draft.

We got a big-time three-down LB to pair with Lofton for the next 10 years.

We got two quality OLs who provide depth at every line position, and can be groomed to take over as starters.

We got a DT who fits our scheme and gives us better depth at a position that rotates a lot of bodies. (See what happened last year when Jerry went down.)

We got a steal with the CB in the fifth round. He’s a keeper.

We got the big, sure-handed possession receiver we needed to convert red zone and third down opportunities when everyone’s keying on TG.

We got depth at safety, which we needed.

We didn’t get a DE because after the first round, none of them could beat out Kroy, Sid, or Chauncey.

We didn’t see a QB, RB, or TE that could have as much impact as the guys we did take at other positions.

That’s not Kool-Aid or bandwagon, it’s just a continuation of good, sound personnel moves that took this franchise out of the toilet and to our first ever back-to-back winning seasons.

But you probably know best.

Bravo Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
6:08 pm

ATLFANSTUCKINTEXAS

April 24th, 2010
6:10 pm

People..People…People… Remember that 4th thru 7th round draft picks have longer careers than 1st amd2nd rounder….. These are your core players that work hard for there $$$$$$$$…..

old man

April 24th, 2010
6:21 pm

Amen, Nite Owl.

Just one example, but the videos of Meier look a whole lot like a Wes Welker clone. Let these guys do their jobs, for goodness sake. Guess what? Maybe that piece of skill position shiny red candy everybody seems to want is in the free agent market. Maybe our new OLB and DT will make someone already on the roster shine like some player you thought we should have drafted.

Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
6:28 pm

Thanks, gents.

I like the “shiny red candy” phrase, old man.

old man

April 24th, 2010
6:33 pm

Yeah, when some idiot buys a brand new sports car, and then a year later hurts his back getting in and out of it, or can’t afford it, I like to say, “He’s licked all the red off that candy.” It’s a handy phrase. Some of these players everyone falls in love with, either from lack of skill, or lack of attitude, get the red licked off of ‘em pretty daggone fast. I’ll trust the experts about who they are.

chris taylor

April 24th, 2010
6:34 pm

We filled some holes that needed to be adressed. We got the OL depth. We improved our LB core, got a big body DT resembling a Grady Jackson style, Got a CB that can also return kicks. We got better in a lot of areas. That with players returning from injury we will be better. We didnt lose any next year picks, next draft we can really afford to get a BIG name or two like WR Green even if we don’t pick till the end of the rounds.

ET

April 24th, 2010
6:35 pm

You guys are missing the big picture here. Atlanta did not have any 7th round picks this year while the likes of New England had no less than 4. We had to get our 7th rounders early in the draft before they were gone. New England was stuck picking less than 7th rounders because of our strategy.

(Learning from past posts, I find it necessary to state that this is sarcasm. One would think one could post stuff like this without explaining, but that evidently is not the case here!!!)

old man

April 24th, 2010
6:39 pm

ET, disagree with you, but love your post. Regrettably, your parenthetical was probably needed.

Eric

April 24th, 2010
6:39 pm

B’ham News reports that TE Colin Peek, Alabama, has signed a free agent contract with the Falcons.

ET

April 24th, 2010
6:41 pm

By the way ESPN sports center just listed their winners & losers. Guess what we weren’t listed ion either. Evidently Atlanta wasn’t the glaring loser that some of you guys think we were. I’m just saying…

Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
6:42 pm

Lol, old man. Love those phrases like “talking with the bark off the tree.” Got to teach a few to TD.

And to me, it’s not just that they’re experts, but experts with a pretty good track record.

I mean, if you want to say “what have you done for me lately” to these guys, they can show 20 wins and a playoff appearance in two years for starters.

They kind of deserve the benefit of the doubt, as opposed to, say, the Redskins.

Nite Owl

April 24th, 2010
6:47 pm

@ET:

Now that was pretty funny. I enjoyed that.

Taking off the Falcons hat and putting on the Hawks hat now. Should’ve signed JSmoove to a FA contract at TE.

See you guys in August.

BlueRidgeDawg

April 24th, 2010
6:48 pm

chris taylor

April 24th, 2010
6:49 pm

Look at NE, and how they draft. TD is moving towards accumilating picks like they do. We’re not losing future picks, we’re gonna have more comp. picks. You have to have a growing pain draft where u don’t get the hype guys everyone wants to be able to build for the future. DT play hurt our pass rush. Now with that addressed and getting better watch our DE’s dominate. Especially that we’ve improved immensely in coverage with Robinson, Spoon, Franks and Moore returning and Decoud getting better. I look for us to get pressure off the edge better, BVG will not be able to mix up blitz schemes better with the players we got. Now we add some more guys in FA and you got one hell of a team. The O-line guys alone will improve our passing/rushing game. Well done under the radar draft.

Mike S

April 24th, 2010
6:55 pm

If the Falcons are shopping at Bama for undrafted FA’s maybe they sign Leigh Tiffen ?

Carter

April 24th, 2010
7:02 pm

Time will tell the “VALUE” in the picks!!! Everything that looooks good ain’t GOOOD!!!! We have all heard that from the WISER man.

GO Big Falcons–i believe

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
7:21 pm

Those quotes must have been direct from a recorder-to-text device. TD wasn’t stupid or drunk, I’m pretty sure. Why don’t you go back an put out an edited version, D-Led?

Philip

April 24th, 2010
7:36 pm

I read that the DT from Kentucky was rated as 7th round choice by NFLSCOUT.COM.Everyone knows we need a TE since Gonzalez is gone next year,so why not take Hernandez from Fl.Surely to goodness,with 21 TE’s picked there is one worthy of picking.I’m also worried about WR help.Surely we arent going to depend on Booker,Weems and Mr Injured reserve also known as Finneran.

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
7:52 pm

Thank you, D-Led.

One more edit needed: “I not exactly sure why he fail.”

What was TD trying to say? It sounds like he was agreeing that Franks was a failure, and that doesn’t make sense. Maybe it should be “I don’t know why he fell”; i.e, dropped in the draft.

ET

April 24th, 2010
7:55 pm

I certainly would have taken a diffferent pick in the third round and also would have done something different with the first 4th round pick…but I don’t have the same information that TD and company had at the time. Like Carter says above “only time will tell”. Think about this, everyone thought that trading away New Orleans whole draft to get Ricky Williams was a mistake and look how well that panned out for them…well on second thought, maybe that isn’t the best draft move to site here…never mind.

Mama T

April 24th, 2010
7:57 pm

You dummies. I cannot believe it you passed on Brandon Lang. You need a defensive end and I say get rid of Jamal Anderson and get Brandon Lang. You know I have supported the falcons a long time. BUT after this draft I am done. You guys are crazy. Here we go again.

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
7:59 pm

Ryan Wolfe WR out of UNLV has signed with the Atlanta Falcons According to NFL.com

Mike F

April 24th, 2010
7:59 pm

I really like Spoon and James but… I like watching the FA walk-ons even more. These guys will work harder than a first-rounder sometimes because they know they have to prove themselves, where the high round draftee is almost on the roster from the word go.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 24th, 2010
8:00 pm

Hello All. Hope y’all had some fun with this. Trying to find out about the CFA’s. (college free agents.)

Michael

April 24th, 2010
8:01 pm

Hey DOL,
Do you have any idea which undrafted free agents the falcons are looking at potentially signing? Brandon Lang looks like a solid DE that could give the falcons a little more depth at the position seeing as John Abraham plays healthy once every blue moon

Tosin

April 24th, 2010
8:03 pm

D-Led
Falcons sign Ryan Wolfe WR out of UNLV.
Highlights
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wplH8cl3zg