Someone mentions every now and then how Mike Smith / Thomas Dimitroff actually inherited a pretty solid core when they first arrived, particularly on offense.
(For those who might be visiting our board, then-rookie Sam Baker missed most of the season with back issues, with veteran Todd Weiner working as the starting left tackle for 11 of the 16 games. Our line was Weiner, Justin Blalock, Todd McClure, Harvey Dahl and Tyson Clabo - all holdovers - with holdovers Quinn Ojinnaka and Ben Wilkerson as the active backups. We had Roddy White and Michael Jenkins as the starting WRs, Brian Finneran for WR depth, Ovie Mughelli as our starting FB, Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling providing backfield depth, and "Rojohombre" Chris Redman plus local favorite D.J. Shockley as the backup QBs.)
But something that gets overlooked is how many draft picks we acquired that came out of the players from previous regimes.
On the old CBS site, one of my articles (deleted when they pulled the plug on the blogs along with the forum - GRRRRRRRRR !! ) tracked how the origins of the Falcons team we knew from 2008-2010 really started with the 2004 draft. By 2008, Michael Jenkins was the only actual player still on the roster from that draft class, but we got a significant number of extra picks out of the rest of that group.
Overall, our current regime has drafted 12 players with picks that came out of former Petrino/Mora/Reeves players. We've drafted a total of 46 players since Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff have been with us, meaning that a staggering 26 percent of our total draft classes have been borne from the fruits of previous coaching staffs.
Considering that we have now had SIX drafts under our current regime, that's an impressive boost (an average of two extra players per year!) to our draft yield.
Here's the list:
After the 2006 season, Patrick Kerney moved on via free agency. Atlanta got a third round compensatory pick in the 2008 draft. That pick became everyone's favorite master of geometry, Thomas Decoud.
At the end of the 2007 preseason, Petrino decided to ditch punt returner Allen Rossum to make room for one of his Louisville players (Antoine Harris) as the ninth DB on the roster. Pittsburgh gave us a future (2008) seventh rounder for Rossum. Dimitroff used that pick to take Keith Zinger, a blocking tight end from LSU
The Matt Schaub and DeAngelo Hall trades each included a 2008 second rounder for the Falcons. Those were the two second rounders that Atlanta traded to the Redskins for a first rounder (Sam Baker) and a third rounder (which became Harry Douglas).
(Atlanta also sent its own regular fourth round pick to the Redskins for a fifth round pick in that deal. The fifth rounder became Kroy Biermann.)
After the 2008 season, the Falcons allowed Michael Boley to depart via free agency. The Giants signed him to a contract significant enough to land Atlanta a fifth round compensatory pick. That pick became Kerry Meier.
The other pick Atlanta received from Oakland in the DeAngelo Hall deal was a 2009 fifth rounder. Jerry Jones wanted to move up, and he gave Thomas Dimitroff a seventh rounder for moving down 13 spots. The picks from the Cowboys became Garrett Reynolds in the fifth and Vance Walker in the seventh.
The following year, Atlanta traded Chris Houston to Detroit for a sixth rounder and a future seventh rounder. The Falcons used the sixth rounder to select Shann Schillinger and the 2011 seventh rounder to take Andrew Jackson.
Harvey Dahl moved on via free agency in 2011, as the team didn't have the cap space under the new CBA to resign all of its free agents. That got us a 2012 late compensatory pick, which we used to land defensive tackle prospect Travian Robertson.
(We would have had another one for the loss of punter Michael Koenen. But that one was nullified by our own signing of backup tight end Reggie Kelly. Ironically, getting Kelly at the end of his career cost the Falcons a draft pick just like getting him at the start of his career. At least this time getting him only cost us a seventh round compensatory pick, and not the #5 overall selection.)
Eric Weems was part of our 2007 practice squad who returned to the practice squad in 2008 and got his opportunity when Harry Douglas suffered a horrific knee injury in practice in 2009. After making the Pro Bowl as a punt return specialist, Weems moved on in free agency in 2012, landing us one of our three seventh round compensatory picks this year. The league doesn't specify which free agent (Weems, Kelvin Hayden, James Sanders) became which pick. So take your choice - Weems became one of Zeke Motta, Kemal Ishmael, or Sean Renfree.
I did NOT include the Laurent Robinson trade among the player count. He had a fine rookie year but lost his 2008 season to a pair of injuries, and the coaching staff decided he no longer fit their plans. Before the 2009 draft, they traded him to the Rams to move up in both the fifth and sixth rounds. The Falcons used the improved picks to select William Middleton and Spencer Adkins. I left them off of the list because they were not extra picks gained via trade.
And we may be in line for yet one more pick from a legacy player - Brent Grimes was another member of the 2007 practice squad, joining the main roster for the final two games of that season.