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Falcons Making Modern Analytics a Priority in 2016

With so much valuable technology being created in the 21st century, analytics have become increasingly important in the realm of sports.

Football is no exception, and the Falcons, who are led by a stats-friendly general manager in Thomas Dimitroff, appear to be embracing new-age numbers and philosophies.

According to Dimitroff, the Falcons have a "budding" analytics department, and the GM mentioned Thursday that he's impressed with what that group has accomplished of late. Coach Dan Quinn voiced his support of analytics, too, and believes they can help tremendously.

"The whole process is really fun," Quinn said. "The analytics is a really good piece."

A lot of people in the sports world—fans, media members, players, coaches, executives—are openly critical of the so-called "advanced stats." Their argument usually boils down to one thought: numbers can't illustrate what a human accomplishes in a physical event.

Sometimes there's a shred of truth to that statement, but with player tracking systems, advanced formulas and studies that prove strong correlations exist between these numbers and outcomes, the Falcons understand that gathering a wide range of data can be highly beneficial.

"As far as our approach, we've become more and more intellectual as far as how we're looking at things and presenting things to Dan and how we sit down and talk a lot about the players we're looking at," said Dimitroff.

"(We're) using the comparatives, which are big for our process. We're a big comparative team when we start looking at our own players, how they stack against the players that are potentially in the draft."

Of course, the analytics alone won't dictate Atlanta's moves. Instead, they'll be used in conjunction with traditional scouting methods to build well-rounded evaluations.

"In the end, this comes back to what we said: Dan and his staff are being very, very clear with what they need at the positions," Dimitroff said. "We look at all the analytics, but to go to Dan in the end and say, 'Does this linebacker fit our scheme, does this corner fit our scheme?' is a very important part of it—more so than what exactly is on the paper from a numerical standpoint."

"It's one of the most exciting times to put the whole thing together," Quinn added. "We're competing to find the right fits for the right guys, so reading the reports, finding the analytics, the tape, (put) everything together, then you make the decision."

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