Thomas Dimitroff discusses draft plans and the Todd Gurley signing

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As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the nation, access for the media is limited to phone calls and video conferences, but general manager Thomas Dimitroff took the time to speak to some of the media Tuesday afternoon, talking about several topics from the recently signed Todd Gurley to the upcoming NFL Draft.

The former Georgia Bulldog standout is officially a member of the Atlanta Falcons. However, he has not yet taken his physical, which the front office must conduct before he starts playing in red and black again, considering his knee issues. But Dimitroff commented on that, saying not only do the Falcons have clauses in place that protects them in case there is a problem, but he also said that he is confident things will turn out just fine — whenever he does go through those tests.

Dimitroff had some fond words to say regarding Atlanta’s most substantial offseason acquisition, Dante Fowler Jr., as well, inferring that last year was just the tip of the iceberg for the former #3 overall pick as he began to master his technique as a pass rusher.

Of course, as we found out from Robert Quinn, Fowler was not the only pass rusher the Falcons were interested in. They made a run at Quinn, who eventually signed with the Bears and said that his decision between the two organizations came down to a flip of the coin. That should surprise everybody, and Dimitroff was no different.

I guess we will never know just how much money played a factor, or if the Falcons were willing to go as high as the Bears. Quinn signed a five-year, $70 million contract with Chicago, which is much more than the three-year, $48 million deal Fowler received. Quinn is also five years older, so it looks like the Falcons got the better end of the bargain.

As far as the NFL Draft goes, Dimitroff did not change his tune about the Falcons drafting for need. They don’t do that and will continue to look for the best player available. Although, he did say the hope is that one of those best players available does fill one of their needs. That shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish because the Falcons have several of them. 

Most notably, Atlanta has to add a cornerback in the first two rounds that can contribute from the jump. Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield have shown promise, but they can’t be the two best options in a division with Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Emmanuel Sanders, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson. Even if the Falcons would like to take the best player available each round, cornerback cannot be ignored, and neither can the defensive line.

Dimitroff also briefly commented on some of the challenges that will present themself with the draft being entirely virtual. Teams can only meet with players over the phone or through video chat and are limited in the amount of time they speak with each prospect, which will require front offices to be more creative and “open-minded.” Dimitroff also said he believes this will lead to a lot more trade conversations before the draft.


To watch the full conference call, click here.


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