Conference Calls

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It's draft season and with just a few days remaining before the first night of the NFL Draft, the conversations about what team will select who and where is endless.

To change things up a bit, let's examine where some of the players in the Thomas Dimitroff era have come from before they landed with the Falcons.

Since Dimitroff assumed the general manager's role with Atlanta in 2008, he's made 32 selections. We've already established that Dimitroff has done an excellent job in retaining the players he's drafting and utilizing them on the roster, but where did all these players come from?

Perhaps examining where many of the players drafted by Dimitroff played can offer insight into something that resembles a draft strategy. Although that is unlikely, it's always interesting to see what conferences the Falcons are dipping into the most.

It's no secret that the SEC offers what most believe is the best brand of football in college football. The conference has the national championships and the top-ranked players throughout the draft to back it up. So it's no surprise that Dimitroff has selected nine players from the SEC for the Falcons.

Of those nine picks, six are still on the roster. Julio Jones, Akeem Dent, Cliff Matthews, Peria Jerry, Corey Peters and Mike Johnson are all from the SEC.

There's a three-way tie for the conference in second place. The ACC, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 all have contributed five players.

The Big Sky, home of Montana and Kroy Biermann and Shann Schillinger, and the WAC (Andrew Jackson and Chris Owens) are in third. The Big East, the Atlantic 10, the Southern Conference and the Mountain West have all contributed one player.

In the history of the franchise, Oklahoma and University of Southern California are the schools that have contributed the most to the Falcons. The team has selected 11 players from both schools. Ohio State is a close second with 10 players.

Two other interesting notes:

  • Six players in franchise history have been drafted from Montana. Before Biermann and Schillinger, the last player from Montana was Walt Brett, a fourth-round defensive end selection from 1976.
  • Although Brent Grimes was not a draft pick by the Falcons, his small-school stature is well known. A former Shippensburgh University player, he's not the only player to grace a Falcons roster from the small Pennsylvania school.  In 1966 the Falcons drafted Steve Ecker, a punter from Shippensburgh. He was the first player drafted by an NFL team from the school.
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