The 2016 offseason was essential for Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. He was officially one year removed from the Mike Smith era and at a breaking point: he’d either get head coach Dan Quinn the players he needed to revamp the defense after letting a 5-0 start in 2015 somehow turn into an 8-8 record, or he’d risk finding himself on the infamous hot seat.
In truth, the 2016 offseason was an absolute home run for Dimitroff. Falcons fans frequently want to give Quinn all the credit for the drafts since he was hired. And to be fair, there’s no doubt his fingerprints are all over every personnel decision made at Flowery Branch these days. But let’s be clear, Dimitroff is managing the process, directly overseeing the staff that reconstructed this roster. For that he’s gotten and deserves a lot of credit. That includes landing at number 9 on Steven Ruiz’s (USA Today) recent GM rankings.
Dimitroff’s star was falling a bit before he aced last offseason. He managed to find five defensive starters in one draft, which helped Dan Quinn turn around what had been a bad defense for the last half-decade. Dimitroff has been inconsistent during his time in Atlanta, though, so it’s hard to put him any higher on this list.
So obviously Dimitroff did himself a lot of favors during the 2016 offseason. He set the team up for success in 2016 and absent
Kyle Shanahan’s shenanigans an epic breakdown, the Falcons would’ve won the Super Bowl.
The question now is what effect the 2017 offseason will have on Dimitroff’s reputation? The Falcons took a subdued but effective approach to free agency, parting ways with big names like Patrick Dimarco and Jonathan Babineaux. They watched Chris Chester retire and didn’t overspend to sign a replacement, confident they could fill the vacancy with internal options or through the draft. They orchestrated a similar draft strategy, going after their guys.
Only time will tell which of the 2017 draft picks produce and how quickly they produce, but if early assessments are any indication, Dimitroff may have done it again.
Ultimately this comes down to how the Falcons play in 2017. If they make another deep playoff run, his stock will only continue to improve. If they somehow take a step or two backwards, his seat won’t become hot, but it could get a tad bit warm, if you know what I mean.