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Grading Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: the 2009 NFL draft class

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We are back answering the question, "Is Thomas Dimitroff bad?"

Those sunglasses? I give them a 2/5.
Those sunglasses? I give them a 2/5.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to an interesting comment on the message boards (that I can't seem to find, but that nameless commenter will live on forever), we thought it would be great to compare Dimitroff's selections with some of his competition in the NFL. The years are split up between different writers, and when it is all over, we will look at Dimitroff's entire body of work and see where he lands.

We have no idea where it is headed, so enjoy the ride with us. We picked three other teams: one that is considered to have done a really good job (the Seattle Seahawks); one that is considered to be pretty inconsistent (the New York Giants); and the Cleveland Browns (no explanation necessary).

We used a five point system, with a "3" grade meaning the player hit expectations. For instance, Peria Jerry was selected in the first round, so you would expect him to make a Pro Bowl or two. That, of course, never happened. He was only briefly an average player, so he goes down as a bust. A late round pick meets expectations if they stick on the roster and play a few snaps.

And we are off.

The Atlanta Falcons draft

Draft grades

Peria Jerry may be the ultimate "what if" prospect under Thomas Dimitroff, but is probably his worst first round pick. Jerry looked like he had some real potential, but never really made it back from early career injury. He obviously checked out on football at some point, I just can't tell if that was in college of after his awful knee injury. Not sure how much of this you can put on Dimitroff, but I think Jerry deserves a 1. Looking at some of the surrounding players (3 of the next 4 selections made the Pro Bowl), Jerry remains a big bust.


Christopher Owens deserves a 2. I still have night terrors of Owens starting against the Packers in 2011. He had great speed, but struggled with pretty much every other aspect of being an NFL corner. Garrett Reynolds started 24 games for the Falcons, even though he wasn't great. Vance Walker is the only player outside of Reynolds that still has an NFL job. He was a great surprise, always looked like a quality player, but was allowed to walk for very little money. I wish he could have stayed in Atlanta, but Walker remains one of Dimitroff's best late round selections.

Dimitroff makes it out of this draft with 23 points. You hope for an average of 21 points for a typical seven selection draft, so even accounting for Atlanta's extra pick, Dimitroff held his own in 2009.

The New York Giants

The Giants were flush with picks after trading away Jeremy Shockey, and could not have possibly done less with all of their options. Half their draft class did not even play a snap for the team.

2009 draft grades


I think for most of a decade, the Giants always had some undersized pass rusher they drafted very high... that never seemed to play at all. Clint Sintim is that player this year. Not much else to say about this draft. Nicks goes down as a disappointment, but he did put together a few good seasons. Will Beatty is realistically the only player they snagged in the draft.

Despite two extra picks, the Giants only pulled in 15 points according to our system. What a putrid score, and is hopefully Jerry Reese's worst draft haul ever.

The Cleveland Browns

The Browns outdid the Giants? But how?

2009 draft class

At least the Browns got Alex Mack, but they missed badly everywhere else. And they still outdid the Giants. This was the only George Kokinis draft (hired in January, escorted from the team facility in November). Hitting on Alex Mack obviously made this draft. They traded back from near the top of the draft and grabbed more picks. As is pretty typical of Browns trade downs, they didn't do much with those added picks.

Brian Robiskie may be the worst NFL wide receiver in history. Mohamed Massaquoi flashed, but was never consistent and eventually made his way out of the NFL. Kaluka Maiava was the only guy providing decent value for his draft status. Despite killing it with Mack, the Browns still finished up with a below average 17 points. Not bad enough to get you fired in under one year, but still, pretty bad.

The Seattle Seahawks
2009 draft grades

This is how you lose your job and bring in the Pete Carrol era. Missing badly on at 4th overall, the Seahawks went with the safest player in the draft. That player wasn't very fast, and played a non-premium position. What a terrible pick, but the entire first round, except for about 6 players, failed to live up to their draft status. Seattle's biggest problem may have been being really bad the year before a terrible draft class.

The Seahawks fall right between the Giants and Browns with 16 miserable points.

Interesting note: the Seahawks signed Michael Bennett as an UDFA, then cut him. Not sure if that was worse, or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers letting Bennett walk after it was clear he could be a great player.

What we see

The Browns (lolwut) were the only team with even a decent pick in the first round.

This was a poor draft for Atlanta, but Dimitroff outdid the other teams we looked at. 2009 was simply a terrible time to need impact players. While some of these grades may be a bit subjective on our part, Dimitroff has surprisingly and easily outdone all three other teams. He has been criticized for his 2009 draft, and passing over Clay Matthews and Vontae Davis for Peria Jerry, but the early part of the class was simply atrocious. Coming away with William Moore, and three other players that took heavy snaps during their rookie contracts, is impressive.

Follow along tomorrow to see how these teams did in free agency, and we probably assign a grade to trading for some guy named Tony Gonzalez.