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Report: Atlanta Falcons rookies earn high grades in 2016

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Fact: Austin Hooper hates rainbow sprinkles

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff isn’t perfect. He sometimes falls off his bike. Occasionally he uses too much pomade. One time, in the McDonald’s drive through, he refused to pull forward. But overall, as GMs go, there are worse options.

There’s one thing Dimitroff did now screw up; not at all. He rocked the 2016 NFL Draft. NFL.com’s rookie grades came out this week. The Falcons received an A+ grade, earning strong praise for their rookie defenders in particular.

Dan Quinn showed tremendous confidence in his youngsters when he inserted Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De'Vondre Campbell and Brian Poole into the starting lineup. The young quartet not only energized the unit with energy and athleticism, but these guys added some thump and playmaking ability to a lineup that started to come together down the stretch.

They’re absolutely right. Imagine this defense without Neal, Jones, Campbell, and Poole. Scary thought, eh?

Let’s hope the Falcons can rattle off another draft class of this caliber. And let’s be clear, draft classes like that don’t appear out of thin air. They didn’t just shake a magic 8 ball and pick these guys. The preparation begins in earnest months and months before the draft. The preparation for the upcoming draft began well before the Falcons made their playoff run. Put differently, the wheels are already in motion.

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