Thomas Dimitroff concedes that he’ll take a peek at what Mel Kiper and other draftniks think of his work. He’ll also admit that sometimes he doesn’t like what he reads. (One C-minus from Famous Mel really irked the Atlanta Falcons’ general manager.) So as to cut out the middleman, I asked TD the GM what grade he’d assign the Falcons in 2014.
“An A,” he said, perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Then: “Well, if this is such a ridiculous exercise (draft grades) we all talk about, I’m going to give you a very candid maybe arrogant response.”
The belief here — and let’s hope that Dimitroff is better at identifying football talent than I am, otherwise we’ve both spent a lot of years in the wrong jobs — is that the Falcons did well if not exceptionally well. They landed their long-sought offensive tackle in Jake Matthews. They got a nice running back in Devonta Freeman. Ra’Shede Hageman could be a starting defensive lineman soon. (And, given that he was taken in Round 2, he’d better be.) Prince Shembo could fit into the linebacker rotation, which figures to grow by one given that the Falcons seem headed for the 3-4, even if coach Mike Smith won’t admit as much.
I would describe that as a good haul but not a windfall. Except for a Day 3 trade of late-round picks, there was no bold move upward. For those who hated trading five picks for Julio Jones, this was your kind of draft — heavy on depth but, with the exception of Matthews, less heavy on guaranteed starters. (Safety Dezmen Southward, taken in Round 3, seemed a reach: ESPN’s Scouts Inc. ranked him the 144th-best prospect; he was taken with the 68th pick.)
I’ve never done draft grades — that’s esteemed colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter’s province — but I don’t know if this one’s an A. I can’t say I was dazzled. I can’t really say I was overly disappointed, either.
From myajc.com: The Falcons take Prince Shembo, and scrutiny will follow.