GM Thomas Dimitroff is clearly building through the draft

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left, talks with head coach Mike Smith during the morning session on the second day of NFL football minicamp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, left, talks with head coach Mike Smith during the morning session on the second day of NFL football minicamp at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga., Saturday, May 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Abell)

FLOWERY BRANCH – A quick report from around the league reveals that the Falcons are amongst the leaders in a key category.

(A special thanks to Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer for compiling and sharing the data.)

Successful teams in the NFL build through the draft. It’s no coincidence that the Cleveland Browns only have 17 of their draft picks on the 53-man roster, which was submitted at the Saturday deadline.

Green Bay, generally considered a playoff contender, led the league with 36 drafted players.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers are second with 35 drafted players.

The Falcons were eighth with 31.

Indianapolis (34) and New England (32), two teams the Falcons have patterned themselves after, are also near the top the list.

The number includes only drafted players on the 53-man roster, not including undrafted free agents or guys on injured reserve of the physically unable to perform list.

A total of 12 of 22 projected starters were originally drafted by the Falcons. Seven of those projected starters were drafted by Dimitroff.

Another key factor  in Dimitroff’s drafts has been his focus on drafting seniors that have been consistent and who improved over their collegiate careers. (And who didn’t play in the Big Ten!)

Over the last three drafts, 24 of the 26 players that the Falcons have selected were college

Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive back Shann Schillinger runs after intercepting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle in the third quarter. Schillinger is a native of Baker, Mont., and played college football at the University of Montana. (Photo by Jimmy Cribb, Atlantafalcons.com)

Atlanta Falcons rookie defensive back Shann Schillinger runs after intercepting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle in the third quarter. Schillinger and the other five 2010 draft picks all made the team. (Photo by Jimmy Cribb, Atlantafalcons.com)

seniors, while 15 were either named or voted team captain by their coaches or peers.

Here’s a list of teams and how many players they drafted who made their 53-man roster.

TEAM          DRAFTED PLAYERS

Green Bay      36
Carolina      35
Pittsburgh      35
Indianapolis      34
Tennessee      34
New England      32
Oakland      32
San Francisco      32
Atlanta 31
Dallas      31
New York Giants      31
Baltimore      29
Houston      29
Tampa Bay      29
Cincinnati      28
Jacksonville      28
Philadelphia      28
San Diego      28
Buffalo      27
Minnesota      27
Arizona      26
Chicago      26
Detroit      24
Kansas City      24
St. Louis      24
Seattle      24
New Orleans 23
Denver      22
Miami      21
New York Jets      21
Cleveland      17
Washington      17

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

92 comments Add your comment

truth

September 9th, 2010
7:13 am

nes

September 9th, 2010
7:25 am

DOL, very informative article this morning! Building thru the draft is the best way to lay the foundation for consistent seasons year after year as long as he drafts the Right Players! I give TD a B grade so far. Only way to judge his performance of the draft is 3-5 years out from his first draft and making playoffs year after year. He still has to fill in the glaring weaknesses with a few timely and great pickups via free agency! Look at the Saints, that is what they did. This is year 3 so if we miss the playoffs again no excuses this time with a very favorable schedule, then its back to drawing board especially if offense sputters again. We need another playmaker or two at WR and to replace Norwood when he gets injured again! Bierman and Abraham will get double digit sacks this year due to improved pass coverage and great conditioning of the defense. Offense will be an unknown, we start finding out Sunday against the Steelers! Standing by my prediction of 11-5 record this year.

Still Need to Upgrade WR

September 9th, 2010
7:30 am

Don’t get it. How can #3 get better if he only has 84 and 88 to throw to. Will need to throw to keep 8 out of box and it just isn’t going to happen with WR’s we have now. 9-7 at best.

oranjucejonz

September 9th, 2010
7:45 am

Fantsy draft complete!!!!Lets get this party started

JYD

September 9th, 2010
7:55 am

Falcons will be an 8-8 glaring need at Wide receiver as shown in the preseason everyone knows Ryans #1 option is 84 then option #2&3 is #88 that’s why we need the free agency to shore up this area. Norwood is always injured while Jenkins still drops the ball.

Edwin

September 9th, 2010
8:04 am

So last year was 9-7 with HD out for the year, but this year is 8-8 with all of our receivers? Makes perfect sense.

CTK

September 9th, 2010
8:11 am

We have Douglas, Jenkins, and White. TE – Gonzalez and RB – Turner. Douglas gives us one more weapon than last year. Ryans experience has increased. We will be alright.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 9th, 2010
8:16 am

oranjucejonz — YOU’RE THE GREATEST ONE HIT WONDER EVER!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dZW1C3neao . Thanks for stopping by the blog!!!

Season Ticket Holder

September 9th, 2010
8:22 am

Last years super bowl champs, the Saints is number 27 on the list which proves you can build a solid team through trades and free agents.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 9th, 2010
8:23 am

truth — You’re a legend.

nes — Thanks for your comment. I just had to recognize Mr. Jonz. He’s one the all-time greats.

Still Need — Ryan has two Pro Bowl receivers in 84 and 88. I think they are fine with 12, 86, 14 and 83. Don’t understand the outcry for another WR

SirReal

September 9th, 2010
8:24 am

Man, we’ll be fine at WR. We have some guys who are capable of taking up the slack. We do need a consistent threat beyond White and Gonzalez and I think we have that in Harry Douglas. Relax! We havent even hit the field yet!LOL We’ll be fine.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 9th, 2010
8:25 am

Season Ticket Holder — We don’t know if the Saints are going to be winners over the long haul like the Colts and Pats. Building-through-the-draft theorists would suggest they are not.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

September 9th, 2010
8:28 am

I am very confident in White and Douglas , and i am one of the few that thinks Jenkins put down way to much , I think he is a great compliment to Roddy . heal fast Jenks
Go Falcons , I am officially nervous now as kickoff is only a few days away.
great writing DOL

[...] Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is building through the draft. [...]

falcon83

September 9th, 2010
8:41 am

great respect to atlanta and the whole organization. I’m a huge fan. But what is wrong with the Big Ten?

Wildebeast

September 9th, 2010
8:41 am

The Falcons would be even higher on the list if Kerry Meier hadn’t go down.

Wildebeast

September 9th, 2010
8:42 am

Oh yeah, GO VIKINGS!!

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
8:51 am

DOL. the kicking situation scares me alittle. If Bryant starts to sputter. What options do we have?

Sid

September 9th, 2010
9:09 am

The first game of the season is tonight…………………why not analyze the demise of a team that will not repeat, will lose their Super Bowl seat, and how the Vikings will win, let the season begin,

FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
9:12 am

D’led I with you on the receivers. I don’t understand the outcry except all of the “availables” are fantasy league hits. No fantasy points for a WR making a monster block 15 yards down the field.

98 Falcons were built on free agents and trades. Further, they were opportunistic and got ALOT of calls from the refs. Sound familiar?

Sid

September 9th, 2010
9:16 am

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
8:51 am
DOL. the kicking situation scares me alittle. If Bryant starts to sputter. What options do we have?
********************************************************************************
HOPEFULLY that is the least of our worries. We could always bring back Nick Mike-Mayer or Morten Andersen.

Sid

September 9th, 2010
9:18 am

@FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
9:12 am
*********************************************************
…………………and how did they do the next year?

DC Dirty Bird

September 9th, 2010
9:23 am

DLed, the outcry is based on the number of 3rd down conversions we failed to convert because we overly depended on either Roddy or Tony to make a play. There were no explosive plays from our 2 through 4 receivers. I think fans like myself are concerned with essentially casting our entire lot on Harry not only returning to his rookie year’s physical form, but also improving on his route running sans playing time. We’ve watched the other teams who have had success in the NFC stack their WR talent 3 deep with both size and speed. After Roddy we have Harry (an unproven talent) then Finn and Jenkins. Neither one of those guys strike me as a WR who is either going to strike fear into a nickel corner or a FS. I’m glad that almost all if not all of our draft picks made the team, but don’t tell me that Meier was the best WR we could get in the draft after we picked in the 4th round.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 9th, 2010
9:23 am

dbird1 — Bryant booms in practice. He should be fine.

FrontRow — That sounds like the Saints, who did hit on a lot of UDFA’s too.

Sid — I heard that Morten is working out. He’ll be ready if needed. He’s a real pro.

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
9:23 am

@Sid
the thought of bringing back Mortan Anderson makes my stomach turn. Reminds me of the 07 season. that one still makes me sick

Joe Tess Fish House

September 9th, 2010
9:37 am

You all no how I feel about this team.

FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
9:45 am

@Sid …. my point, and the point of D’leds work, exactly.

This Falcon’s team is deep on O-line and D-line. I believe if you drill a little further down D’leds list above the Falcons you will find the teams are build on O-line and D-line first.

Just a Little Bird

September 9th, 2010
9:48 am

Did it occur to anyone that maybe Ryan just doesn’t like to throw anywhere other than his #84 and #88? Doesn’t matter if you had the greatest WR in the league if he never looks for him . . .
just sayin’ let up on getting another WR, jeez! I think those two are his “comfort zones” and he just doesn’t want to throw anywhere else. Beginning to wonder about him . . .

FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
9:56 am

Duh. #2 has gotten good at reading the safties and hitting #84 or #88 depending on the hips. I look forward seeing if he goes further and learns how to influence the safeties.

I’m not sure the passing game is that important. More important is how #2 adjusts the calls depending on how the 8th man in the box is leaning. He got pretty good at it last year before #33 got hurt.

GregKennesaw

September 9th, 2010
10:16 am

I think TD will draft a skill position RB or WR in rounds 1 or 2 next year

D Money

September 9th, 2010
10:16 am

DOL–is that number with or without Meier (not sure how you’re counting injured reserve)? That number for the Falcons may be one higher.

Also, I understand the out cry for receivers. They’re not quite like the Indy, AZ, Vikings (when healthy) or Dallas. They are loaded with receivers so if one goes down, then they just plug in another. That’s not the case with our team. However, we’re a running squad first and there is no one that we can pick up at this point anyway. Hopefully Douglas can step up. I think most fans have given up on Jenkins ever improving.

D Money

September 9th, 2010
10:22 am

@GregKennesaw– I’m thinking WR and TE in rounds one and two. It’ll definitely be an offensive weapon for MR2

GregKennesaw

September 9th, 2010
10:23 am

Look the team TD inherited was weak everywhere except RB and 1 WR. he has improved QB,OL,DL,DB’s, LB’s. So that leaves 1 weakness WR, so everyone jumps on that one remaining weakness which will probably be fixed next draft. I laugh at people “calling for changes”. What? Fire this coach or GM? Your NUTS!

Chattanooga Chuck

September 9th, 2010
10:28 am

I’m still worried most about the defense. I sure hope Dunta is as good as advertised.

FalconsFan284

September 9th, 2010
10:40 am

DLED—-I just want to point out that I am an aspiring legend. As for the article, I have more trust and faith in Thomas Dimitroff then any decision maker the Falcons have ever had. I just get the feeling that with him, Arthur Blank and Coach Smith that these Falcons are going to be something special for a very long time.

Chattanooga Chuck

September 9th, 2010
10:48 am

I feel extremely confident with Falcon leadership now, but we also felt confident with the LeBaron, Braatz, and Bennett combination thirty years ago. The problem was that Rankin Smith didn’t like the plateau we were at and broke things up. As long as Mr. Blank stays patient over the long haul we’ll be OK.

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
10:54 am

@GregK

You are right on the money. We were weak in Every positon. Now i have boiling over with confidence. This year will be great. Next year will be unbelivable.

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
10:55 am

sorry now i AM boiling over

waynester

September 9th, 2010
11:05 am

Chuck
Right on!

torgo

September 9th, 2010
11:08 am

There’s some correlation, but the theory that the number of your own draft picks on the roster directly impacts long term success misses the part that matters: it’s the effective allocation of assets that makes the difference over the long haul. In a salary cap environment (which doesn’t apply this year), cap management is the top factor. But draft pick management does play a role.

Each team has seven draft picks per season with which to replace departing players or to improve the roster. Those picks are your assets. If you draft seven players that are all busts or otherwise squander the picks (trade them for players who leave via free agency the next year, forfeit them for tampering with potential free agents or videotaping opponent signals, package them to trade up and then draft a bust, etc), then you end up with nothing to show for your assets. You fail to improve the overall strength of your team, and you’ll have even more holes to fill in future seasons as still more of your better players leave via free agency or retirement.

Teams with consistently strong drafts are able to fill more roster spots (and more important roster spots) without having to compete for players in free agency, giving them an advantage.

You’d have to be strong in free agency to offset weakness via the draft, but the list above certainly shows both that it can be done and that a high portion of draft picks on the roster isn’t the only key to success. The Saints, Jets, Cardinals and Vikings are in the bottom half of the league but have recent postseason success. San Francisco and Oakland are near the top of the list but have been floundering for years.

SeenThisB4

September 9th, 2010
11:20 am

There seems to be a small but strong undercurrent flowing through this blog that basically is “Hoping” that “Fate” and “History” take down the New Orleans Saints this year. Then they turn around with that type of thinking, and have the gall to support it by the equally baseless analysis of the Saints getting “lucky” and “help” from the refs last year. LOL! All intangibles.

Well, falcant fans, maybe the New Orleans Saints won’t win the Super Bowl again. Maybe they will.

But one thing is certain, they are going to bring it hard, fast and without hesitation or mercy.

YOU WANT THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

You’ll have to take it!

And I don’t think the falcants have the testosterone to do it. Nope, they’ll make up excuses like: …had too many injuries, the refs didn’t make the calls, the Saints got all the lucky bounces, the Saints cheated, etc., etc. LOL!

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!! TWO DAT!!!

dbird1

September 9th, 2010
11:39 am

@B4,

Really?! do we have to go through this Everyday with you. No one cares what you think.

Gray Mule

September 9th, 2010
11:42 am

Remember when, a few years ago, Falcons had a QB who scared the opponents because of his runing skills, not his QB ability.
For their first game of the season, the Falcons face a QB who is more known for his running ability than any thing else.
So, our big question for game one is, can the Birds play a decent run defense and stop the Steelers young QB?
A lot of questions to answer.
In pre season, Falcons couldn’t score, except for 3 pointers, from the red zone. I know, it was pre season, still it worries me.
GO FALCONS!!

Gray Mule

Falcon Jim

September 9th, 2010
12:27 pm

DOL – Does the team know the Falcons have never won in Pittsburgh?

F.J.

Falcon Jim

September 9th, 2010
12:28 pm

B4 – whodat gonna get whupped tonight? Flower-heads, that who!

truth

September 9th, 2010
12:33 pm

Vikes 28
aints 24

truth

September 9th, 2010
12:36 pm

What’s up with the scared pansies on the blog today. Awwwww…….afwade of awittle game. Come sissy boys, I’m sure the BEERMAN is screaming bring it the freak on!!!!

Falcon Jim

September 9th, 2010
12:42 pm

truth – Right on, bring it on! Ya know, I think it was hard to get a full read on this team from this pre-season. Can’t wait for “REAL” ball, now.

F.J.

FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
12:45 pm

B4 – Not gonna happen. Maybe the Saints will “bring it” but will you “show up” when your team is 5-9 on Dec. 27th? I doubt it.

Yeah the Saints were bringing in when DB was padding his stats at the end of 2008. Had to win the game to make it to LAST PLACE. No more homer refs…..no more last place schedule.

Even the NFL won’t save the city. They tried but still aint happening…..get your bags ready.

Howie Long

September 9th, 2010
12:52 pm

Thomas Dimitroff has not a clue of what he is doing. At the rate we are going we won’t see a SB championship for the next 10 years or so. I’m tired of waiting, I’m beginning to feel like the Falcons won’t win the Super Bowl in my lifetime. I think the team took a big step back with Rich McKay and an even bigger step back when they hired Dimitroff. Look at the B-More Ravens with Flacco, I think that Ryan is the better QB but the Ravens are clearly the better team and organization. They have surrounded J. Flacco with proven talent, they’ve given him everything a young QB needs to succeed in this league WEAPONS. They see a need and they fill it. Its obvious that that franchise is trying to win a Super Bowl NOW. What’s obvious with the Falcons? I’m beginning to think that this team cares more about selling seats than winning the Super Bowl. Mark my words Flacco and the Ravens will win the SB before the Falcons do. As for Mr. Blank, I think he has lost his vision, his drive and motivation. Remember the speeches he gave when he acquired the franchise. Mr. Blank should allow his wife to run this organization I think she will do a much better job. Much like Mrs.Georgia Frontiere did with the Rams when they won the Super Bowl. I love my city, my state and I feel we deserve a Super Bowl Championship even more than New Orleans, but I don’t think it will happen with the Falcons anytime soon. I wish we were a state that had 2 football teams and basketball teams. Go DREAM!!!!!! It seems they will get our city a much deserved championship before these other Losing pathetic poorly run franchises will.
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!
GO DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!