Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff was a guest on Rich Eisen's podcast this week on NFL.com and spent about 20 minutes answering questions about how he approaches the Combine, how he's looking at the Draft with a second-round pick and what he expects to do in free agency.
Dimitroff gave a ton of insight into the Falcons' whole process during this stage in the offseason and I'd highly recommend listening to the whole interview.
You can listen to the podcast by clicking here. If you want to fast forward, Dimitroff's interview starts around the 14-minute mark.
Here are some of the highlights that Dimitroff discussed:
The Falcons held in-depth free agency meetings with owner & chairman Arthur Blank this week. Dimitroff said Blank sits in the meetings with the coaching staff and personnel department to listen to them talk about free agents. The football operations department as a whole provides Blank with a list of free agents that they're interested in. As far as the process, Dimitroff said: "We're rockin' and rollin'. We've gotten things into place quickly." *
The Falcons have also held two significant Draft meetings to "stack the board," as Dimitroff put it. That process isn't finished yet, but they have a really good idea of where they are with the prospects. During the process, they're constantly comparing what's available in the Draft with what's available in free agency. *
Dimitroff recalled the postseason news conference in January when he said that there would be no small tweaks and that significant changes were to come. There have been many significant changes since he said that with the coaching staff, and he says there's plenty more to come. "We're not a sit-still organization," Dimitroff said. "We've always been very aggressive with what we believe needs to be done." *
Heading into the week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Dimitroff said that players don't gain or lose a whole lot of ground based on their performances. At this time last year, Julio Jones and A.J. Green, who was drafted by Cincinnati, were two of their highest-rated prospects. *
The player interviews during the Combine perhaps don't get enough attention, and many franchises would argue that it's the most important part of the whole process. Teams get a chance to interview 60 players during the Combine. For the Falcons, Blank sits in on some of the interviews. Always in attendance are Dimitroff, head coach Mike Smith, the coordinators, personnel directors Dave Caldwell and Lionel Vital, and one of the team's psychologists. The room, Dimitroff said, is set up to provide a very relaxing setting that resembles a living room instead of an interview room. Dimitroff says he prefers to keep this process more relaxing and less rigid and interrogating. *
Dimitroff reiterated another point made during the postseason news conference about locker room chemistry. While he's not all about "angelic souls," he is very concerned about how players affect the team approach. He says he doesn't think he leads the league in most "dots" — that is, a marker to determine whether a player has too many character issues to consider drafting — but he does make sure players are the right fit for the organization. *
Don't expect a complete overhaul of the roster. Says Dimitroff: "We're not going back to the drawing board. We feel we have a good foundation here. We need to continue to build on both sides of the line, as well. We need to continue to build on our girth and our stoutness on our team, which we feel comfortable we can do." *
Dimitroff is satisfied with where the Falcons will be picking first in the Draft — No. 55 overall — and doesn't expect to be trading up this year. *