Early Bird Report: Thomas Dimitroff ranked among the NFL's top GMs

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes Thomas Dimitroff’s place in a ranking of all 32 general managers in the NFL.

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During Thomas Dimitroff’s run as general manager, the Falcons have experience greater success than at any other time in franchise history. He’s responsible for drafting Atlanta greats such as Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and he’s had big free agent signings with Tony Gonzalez and Alex Mack.

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal ranked every general manager in the league, and he views Dimitroff among the elite. Dimitroff is fifth on Rosenthal’s list, ahead of other notable general managers such as Seattle’s John Schneider and Los Angeles’ Les Snead.

“The 2018 season went horribly awry in a number of ways for Dimitroff, but this rank attempts to take the longview, like general managers do,” Rosenthal writes. “Dimitroff's track record with two different head coaches is impressive, although it's fair to question whether the Falcons have rewarded some of the wrong players lately. Devonta Freeman's post-contract injuries are mostly bad luck, but cornerback Robert Alford's extension proved premature and the organization's continued loyalty to Vic Beasley hasn't borne fruit. Still, there's too much talent on this roster to stay down for long.”

To see the rest of Rosenthal’s rankings, click here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

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NFL.com: Ranking every QB draft class of the Millenium

The Falcons have drafted a quarterback in the first round only twice over the past two decades, but both Michael Vick and Matt Ryan became franchise-altering players.

It’s rarely ever so easy for NFL teams to draft a quarterback, the position that has become the defining one in the league. Some quarterback draft classes offer very little, while others are ripe with talent. One year may be loaded with top-tier talent, and another filled with quality depth.

No two quarterback classes are made the same, and with the NFL Draft just days away, NFL.com’s Marc Sessler ranked every single draft class since 2000. The Falcons are represented well on the list. Ryan’s 2008 class is ranked sixth, while Vick’s 2001 class is ranked fourth.

“Both Michael Vick and Drew Brees changed perceptions of how the position could -- and should -- be played,” Sessler writes of the 2001 class. “Vick's rare scampering ability and off-the-charts athleticism refocused the league on the potential of running quarterbacks. It's impossible not to wonder how Vick's career would've progressed without his dog-fighting scandal and subsequent prison stint -- though he did make one more Pro Bowl with Philly in 2010. Brees, meanwhile, serves as a constant reminder that shorter quarterbacks aren't always a minus. In his case, Brees has operated as a top-three superstar ever since he landed with the Saints in 2006, winning a storybook Super Bowl for New Orleans and making that offense a treat to watch every fall. He's an easy Hall of Fame selection and an icon under center.”

To see the rest of Sessler’s rankings and what else he had to say about each respective class, click here.

ESPN: The most impactful draft-day trade for all 32 teams

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has a penchant for making trades. In fact, he’s made a trade in every single draft since coming to Atlanta in 2008.

Dimitroff is responsible for what ESPN’s Vaughn McClure believes is the most impactful draft-day trade in Falcons history. In 2011, Dimitroff traded five draft picks to move from No. 27 to No. 6 in the draft and selected wide receiver Julio Jones.

“Maybe it sounded like a crazy idea at the time, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff's gamble paid off when Jones developed into arguably the best wide receiver in the game,” McClure writes. “Meanwhile, none of the players the Browns acquired as a result of those draft picks -- Phil Taylor, Greg Little, Brandon Weeden, Owen Marecic and Trent Richardson -- is currently in the league. Safe to say the Falcons won the trade.”

Jones has become one of the best receivers in the NFL, breaking numerous records and on pace to break many more. While the trade seemed very ambitious at the time, the Falcons ended up with one of the most gifted receivers in league history.

To see what else ESPN’s writers tabbed as the most impactful draft-day trades, click here.

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CBS Sports: The best draft pick in each NFL team’s history

The Falcons have drafted some really good players in recent years, with guys like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Deion Jones coming to mind. But CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin doesn’t view any of the three just mentioned as Atlanta’s best draft pick in franchise history. That honor, Benjamin believes, belongs to none other than Deion Sanders.

“In a year or two, it might be impossible to vouch for a guy who played just five years in Atlanta as opposed to, say, Julio Jones, who's already racked up 10,000 career receiving yards and 80-plus touchdowns,” Benjamin writes. “But Deion is Deion, and even if he won his Super Bowls and made his money elsewhere, he was the face of the Falcons' 1990s defense. With 10 total touchdowns for Atlanta from 1989-1993, he was a true threat to change the game whenever he took the field. He also helped the Falcons snap an eight-year playoff drought.”

To see the top draft picks for all 31 other NFL teams, click here.

AJC: Dimitroff, Quinn putting finishing touches on draft

In less than a week, the 2019 NFL Draft takes place in Nashville. The even marks the culmination of years of scouting work done by NFL teams, but that work is largely complete at this point.

Speaking with the media on Thursday, Falcons coach Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff provided an update on where things stand in their draft approach. After the free agency moves the team has made, Dimitroff says he feels good about where the Falcons stand entering the draft.

“It’s a very collaborative group, with the coaches and the scouts,” Dimitroff said. “We’ve run all kinds of comparatives and have a really good feel for who is going to be a good fit for our team and who’s going to contribute early.”

D. Orlando Ledbetter wrote about this topic in greater detail for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which you can read here.

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