With a new head coach and some subtle shifts in the front office organizational structure, it's hard to know what, if anything, will change this season about Atlanta's approach to the draft. The Falcons have been meeting with some top prospects and have surely developed a draft-day strategy. Dan Quinn shared some insight last week on his approach to assessing prospects and his thoughts on off-the-field concerns.
Quinn feels he's able to get a better feel for prospects in one-on-one visits as opposed to just being present at a player's Pro Day. "I enjoy that a little bit better, just because...maybe you really connect more one-on-one with the player," Quinn said. "Some of the pro days -- I'm sure you guys have been to some as well -- where it gets so many people there. It's so busy, it's really like another version of the Combine. So when you get a chance to do that with a player individually -- imagine having an interview with 50 other people there trying to get the same one, as opposed to spending a whole day with a guy. So when we have those opportunities to go visit with guys individually, it makes all the difference, as you can imagine. You just get more time to connect with the player and find out if this is the right fit for both sides."
Quinn has talked a lot about the importance of connecting with his players, and it's no surprise that he wishes to assess a potential connection with the team's top draft prospects, too. Quinn also is aware of the fact that agents coach their clients on how to impress teams in those brief interviews, so the role of the team's scouts in this process is very important.
"You rely on the scouts who go and dig and find all the background information. They're a huge part of it," Quinn said. "And so for me, that was an important part of my job early on was to connect with our own scouts here and to find out what unique stuff those guys have to go and find the information. But really, when you get a chance to go off campus and visit with the guys one on one, you can do that for a longer period of time -- it does help."
As far as off-the-field or character concerns, Quinn believes they should be considered on a case-by-case basis and in the context of the support system the Falcons have in place for players who will need it.
"I think you really base that on an individual case basis, because it's such a broad topic, you know, of off-the-field issues and what will be the support system to ensure that player has all the support that he needs to be at his best," Quinn said. "So really, on those topics, it's really individualized as it goes all the way through. Everybody's got a story and some background, so that's part of that."