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Falcons Front Office Among League's Best

He's been named Executive of the Year twice in his six-year career as the general manager of the Falcons and Thomas Dimitroff continues to get recognition from around the league for the job he's done running Atlanta's front office.

Two of his former directors of player personnel — Les Snead, St. Louis' general manager, and David Caldwell, the general manager at Jacksonville — now run their own clubs and both appear to be steering their franchises in the right direction. Two recent columns by Don Banks of Sports Illustrated and Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports ranked the front offices in the NFL and Dimitroff and his current staff is high on those lists.

Banks' power rankings list the top 12 teams using information gleaned from executives from around the league as well as agents. Banks put Dimitroff and the Falcons at No. 6 on the list, behind the Seahawks, Patriots, Giants, Packers and Ravens.

Banks commended Dimitroff and Mike Smith for creating a work environment that always the two and the entire staff to work together seamlessly to get big things done. Among the big things Banks cites is the 2011 draft night trade for Julio Jones, free agency hits and trades to bring in veteran experience like Tony Gonzalez and Asante Samuel.

"For a franchise that had never even had consecutive winning seasons before these guys arrived, these are the salad days in Atlanta," Banks wrote.

He added that once the Falcons build on last year's playoff run, there won't be much not to like about the way the Falcons franchise is run.

La Canfora built a similar list to Banks, ranking the top third of the league, a total of 11 teams. La Canfora did qualify his list by looking at the last 36 months and he added that teams under consideration needed to have answers at head coach and quarterback.

On La Canfora's list, the Falcons came in at No. 8, behind the Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks, Giants, Packers, Patriots and Ravens.

Like Banks, La Canfora cites the Jones trade as one of the major successes of Dimitroff's career, calling it a potential signature moment in Falcons history. He also points to the drafting of Matt Ryan and the decision to hire Smith as the team's leader as things Dimitroff definitely got right.

"Dimitroff found a gem in coach Mike Smith, as understated and selfless as they come," and they continue to be on the cusp of greatness," La Canfora wrote.

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