INDIANAPOLIS - Thomas Dimitroff has been on his own running the show with the Falcons since 2008. So he's now been in Atlanta longer than the seven seasons he spent in New England working as national scout (2002) and Director of College Scouting (2003-07).
But Dimitroff still takes plenty from his days in Foxborough with him as he prepares for yet another draft in Atlanta, a team that picks No. 6 overall after a surprisingly disappointing 2013 campaign. For example, the Atlanta GM was asked Friday in his Combine press conference about how he evaluates quarterback prospects late in the draft.
"Quarterback is obviously is a very interesting position," Dimitroff said. "It's one of the more difficult positions to evaluate. There is so much involved. I had the good fortune of being around Tom Brady in New England and now Matt Ryan to get a real good feel for what we're looking for in a quarterback, the leadership aspects of quarterback. It's much more than a strong arm and 6-5 height. It's about the entire package. That's very important for us. I've seen it before and I think you can continue to develop a guy who's going to be a legitimate deuce (backup) and more to parlay him into trade opportunities, which obviously New England has done in the past, to use as an example. The later picks, being creative with the latter picks and holding on to those guys is an important part of the scouting process."
Dimitroff was obviously referencing New England's drafting and development of USC backup Matt Cassel, later trading him to the Chiefs for s second-round pick.
Another New England-related topic came up when Dimitroff was asked about the work that former Patriots V.P. of Player Personnel Scott Pioli has done since joining the Falcons front office earlier this winter.
"Scott Pioli has a world of knowledge and experience," Dimitroff said. "Again, not only as a winner and winning many Super Bowls and many, many championships and many games with coach [Bill] Belichick as a fantastic tandem. He also comes to the table with incredible insight as far as the challenges that you'll face building football teams and managing. So what Scott is going to do for us not only from a personnel standpoint, that's going to be very good and it has been already. We've already dug in as a staff with Scott right there at the table with a lot of very good insight. Not only that, It's going to be what he's going to add to the organization from other aspects of the organization, i.e. from a salary cap standpoint, policy making to approaches of building a championship football team."