When general manager Thomas Dimitroff evaluates players, his eye is instantly drawn to prospects that show athleticism, competitiveness, toughness and pure skill at their respective positions.
The Senior Bowl has proved to be a valuable resource for Dimitroff and his staff when it comes to finding quality draft picks.
"When we are at the Senior Bowl, we are looking for athleticism, how a player moves, explosiveness, grit and finish, and we are usually able to take that in quite quickly," Dimitroff said.
There is a big difference between seeing a player on film and watching them live. Knowing this, Dimitroff puts a lot of emphasis on evaluation at the Senior Bowl, insisting that he and his staff leave Mobile, Ala. with a good read on all of the top players in the draft.
"You can't walk away from the Senior Bowl and have a final grade on someone, but you get an idea on how they move and what their true abilities are, juxtaposing to other top-notch talent in the country is beneficial for us as well," said Dimitroff.
Atlanta's current roster features nine players who attended the Senior Bowl. Justin Hardy, Grady Jarrett, Joey Mbu, Ra'Shede Hageman, Desmond Trufant, Malliciah Goodman, Robert Alford, William Moore and Matt Ryan all made a case for themselves while competing in the all-star game.
This year's Senior Bowl game features an especially talented group of offensive and defensive linemen.
"It is a very interesting draft for both fronts, defensive line and offensive guard/tackle position," Dimitroff said of position groups that stood out. "It's encouraging to see a position in this league that is so important continue to produce viable candidates to come into the NFL."
Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn recently expressed they have a very clear vision for the Falcons moving forward, and the Senior Bowl gave them a chance to evaluate players who can contribute to their future plans.
"To be able to discuss position drills while we were watching live was invaluable," Dimitroff said of being at the Senior Bowl with Quinn. "We were able to share our opinions; it's just a really good session for us."
"The vision is very, very clear," said Dimitroff. "The opportunity to work together and clearly communicate what we are looking for is going to be huge for us."