Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his
perfectly spiky hair merry band of scouts are eagerly awaiting the NFL draft. Just think, only 72 hours from now, the Falcons will have made their first round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. Where did the off-season go?
Friday and Saturday of the draft will ideally allow them to add another starter or two, and with any luck, some additional depth. Don’t forget that these three days don’t materialize spontaneously. There’s a lot of careful planning, analysis, and scheming informing this process.
For almost a decade the Falcons have emphasized character in their pre-draft scouting. They’re willing to take some risks, but generally speaking, they shy away from players with glaring character concerns. I don’t need to explain their rationale - you’re already familiar with this team’s history. And to be frank, they’ve missed a couple times since Michael Vick went to Federal prison. (I’m looking at you, Prince Shembo.) But that’s their consistent approach. That’s what they stick to.
All that said, we’ve seen a slight softening of that approach in recent years. So much so that Dimitroff is now willing to just come out and say it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter wrote a piece about this Monday. (Give it a read, if you haven’t already.)
“You are never going to be 100 percent correct,” Dimitroff said. “Sometimes, things fall through the cracks, but we do all we can to make sure we are (making good) acquisitions. Again, they are not all angelic souls. I get that [... w]e really are proud of the type of people we bring in here,” Dimitroff said. “We think it’s important. Of course, I’ve said this time and again: We aren’t looking for angels. We are looking for guys who are real.”
Not surprised? That’s fine. There’s nothing particularly Earth shattering here. But I am certainly relieved to here this continued commitment to flexibility, no matter how slight. Nobody is perfect, and it’d be a damn shame to overlook solid fits based solely on minor indiscretions.