Atlanta Falcons Thomas Dimitroff probably has a lot of pep in his step when he steps inside Flowery Branch each day. It could be all the post-mountain biking adrenaline, or maybe’s he’s really into expresso. But if I had to make my most educated guess, his impressive track record fuels his swagger.
I read an interesting article about first round draft picks today. This article addressed how much playing time teams are getting from their first rounders. Josh Sunderbruch over at the SBNation Chicago Bears site Windy City Gridiron crunched some numbers. (Thanks, Josh!) Here’s the broad strokes:
[T]wenty-one NFL teams have had exactly one first-round pick from 2015 to 2017 (essentially giving them parallel situations to the Chicago Bears), and the average (mean) is 75 “games appearances” across the last three seasons; the median is the 81 game appearances enjoyed by the Chargers. The Bears saw half of that amount of playing time.
The Falcons, like the Bears, picked one player in the first round between 2015 and 2017. Looking at similarly situated teams, the Bears got the fewest game appearances out of their first rounders during that time frame. But guess who got the most game appearances out of their first rounders during that same time frame? The Falcons. In fact, Falcons first rounders logged 92 out of a possible 96 game appearances (95.8 percent). Only the Jets matched that number.
The players we’re talking about are Vic Beasley, Keanu Neal, and Takk McKinley. That’s an impressive bunch. If Beasley hadn’t missed two games with a hamstring injury last year and Neal hadn’t missed two games with a knee injury during his rookie year, they’d be at 100 percent. Think about that for a second. That’s damn good by any metric.