ATLANTA – The 2019 NFL Draft is still months away, and there are plenty of more pressing concerns for the Falcons. But the way the items further up on the agenda pan out will have a large impact on Atlanta's approach to the draft.
It remains to be seen how active the Falcons are in free agency and how much cap space they have to work with, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff believes there's an opportunity to improve Atlanta's roster through this year's draft.
The moves the Falcons make in free agency, however, will go a long way towards determining whether Atlanta is focused on filling a position of great need or has freedom to draft a number of positions depending on the talent available to them.
"We really have to sit down and see who we end up with, obviously, and what moves we make to clear some space," Dimitroff said. "Then, we'll have more of an idea if we're directed towards best player or need."
Whether a team should draft for positional need or take the undrafted player who is highest on its board has long been a popular debate around draft time. The Falcons hold the No. 14 pick in this year's draft, their highest draft slot since 2015 when they selected Vic Beasley at No. 8, so they should have a variety of different paths to take on draft night.
Dimitroff did make it clear that need is always going to be a factor in any decision the team would make. Whichever players Atlanta considers, they will be at positions the team knows it needs to address or feels it can upgrade.
"We will always be focused on our need," Dimitroff said. "We are never going to sit out there and pull a position that we know that we have some really good depth at just because that's the best player. Need is going to be driving this, but we're going to be very mindful of the best player as well."