2012 Atlanta Falcons Draft: Determining Thomas Dimitroff's Strategy from History

Scott Carasik@ScottCarasikContributor IIApril 6, 2012

Dimitroff is a top football mind.
Dimitroff is a top football mind.NFL Photos/Getty Images

Thomas Dimitroff has led the Falcons to multiple very successful drafts since he came in after the 2007 season. Twenty-six players are still with the team from the past four drafts and 14 players that Dimitroff drafted have started more than one game for the Falcons.

Because of his success in providing starters for Mike Smith through the draft, Dimitroff has helped the team get to four consecutive winning seasons and a record of 43-21 through the regular season. A big part of Dimitroff's strategy is the emphasis he puts on certain qualities.

Dimitroff tends to lean towards a certain maturity in the players he looks at. Twenty-eight of the players he drafted were seniors when they were drafted and one of the four juniors was redshirted and had been in college for four years.

Dimitroff also looks at a certain type of player almost exclusively for his draft board: players who are known for an exceptional work ethic. All 32 players that Dimitroff has drafted were known as gym rats and players who were known for their hard work on and off the field.

The interesting thing to note here when considering players to pick for the Falcons, is that they have not yet selected a player with either a team-related suspension or a prior arrest before they got drafted.

Even more noteworthy is that the only players on the current team who have been arrested are Jonathan Babineaux and William Moore. Their charges were minor compared to most; Babineaux had simple possession of marijuana, and Moore was speeding and driving under suspended license.

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Another noteworthy function of Thomas Dimitroff’s strategy is to bring in guys known for their leadership. Nineteen out of the 32 players drafted were known as either the team captain or team leader when they were in college.

Matt Ryan has been the poster child of the franchise.
Matt Ryan has been the poster child of the franchise.Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The emphasis on leadership is always going to be something that needs to be in place because Dimitroff has been building the team to be able to replace veterans from within if they are expecting too much money, much like the Steelers and Patriots do.

The last thing that Dimitroff has tendency to weigh is the Senior Bowl and other Senior All-Star games. He likes to see how the players will play against each other, having brought in 11 players who have played in the Senior Bowl, three who have played in the East-West Shrine Game and three who have played in the NFLPA game (also known as the Texas vs. the Nation game).

So, in summary, the Falcons' draft strategy can be extremely predictable at times, but when looking for the next Falcons picks, take a look at the strategies employed.

Dimitroff tends to go with players who are hard workers and team leaders. He tends to go with players who have not been arrested or suspended. He also looks into players who are more mature (and tend to be seniors) and players who were in all-star games.