One common theme that was already in place under Thomas Dimitroff as the drafting-head of the Falcons showed up again last week as the team drafted its newest collection of rookies. Dimitroff continued to select players he felt were team leaders, a number of them given the team captain designation by their teammates and coaches.
Of the six selections in the 2012 draft for Atlanta, four players were team captains. Lamar Holmes, Bradie Ewing, Charles Mitchell and Travian Robertson were all team captains for their respective teams.
Throughout the draft, Dimitroff spoke of drafting "team-captain types," players that were identified as team leaders. Although the others, Peter Konz and Jonathan Massaquoi, weren't official captains of their squads, they demonstrated character traits through the scouting process that were consistent with team captains.
On and off the field leadership is important and its been a staple among the players that Dimitroff has brought in through the drafts. Since 2008, 20 of the 36 players the Falcons have drafted have been team captains, including notables like Matt Ryan, Sean Weatherspoon, Thomas DeCoud and Corey Peters. Eight of the drafted players since 2008 that received a start during last season were college team captains.
As players progress through their college careers they begin to develop those team-captain type of traits. Seasoned players when they arrive in the NFL, players like these are more prone to accept coaching and come with a team-first mentality that leads to success.
Thirty-two of the 36 players the Falcons have drafted since 2008 have been seniors, including Holmes, Ewing, Mitchell and Robertson from this class. Based on the word around Konz and Massaquoi, it's very likely they would have been team captains for their teams during their senior seasons.
Dimitroff's reliance on the draft to build a team of high-character and high-performing players appears to have continued with his 2012 draft class. In his prior four seasons, he has made-over the roster to feature 19 new starters from the 2007 season. Twenty four of the 32 players the GM has drafted between 2008 and 2011 have seen game action and 16 have started. In all, 28 rookies have been active on game day since 2008.