Atlanta Falcons: Grading All of Thomas Dimitroff’s Draft Class

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May 9, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff and first round draft pick tackle Jake Matthews (with jersey) shown during a press conference at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Round 1 (pick 6): OT Jake Matthews

Round 2 (pick 37): DT Ra’Shede Hageman

Round 3 (pick 68): S Dezmond Southward

Round 4 (pick 103): RB Devonta Freeman

Round 4 (pick 139): LB Prince Shembo

Round 5 (pick 147): CB Ricardo Allen

Round 5 (pick 168): LB Marquis Spruill

Round 7 (pick 253): LB Yawin Smallwood

Round 7 (pick 255): LB Tyler Starr

The Good: The silver lining for an unexpectedly awful 4-12 season was a high draft pick in each round for Dimitroff to work with. He got an absolute stud with the sixth overall pick in Jake Matthews. The tackle who blocked for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M is the son of hall of fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, and the cousin of superstar Packers linebacker Clay Matthews. Jake has done an amazing job of covering Matt Ryan’s blind side so far this year, and he looks like he’ll be the anchor of that offensive line for the next decade. Prince Shembo has looked good in his limited chances playing linebacker this season, and should be able to be a contributor if and when he gets more playing time. Devonta Freeman showed flashes of brilliance in the preseason and looks to be the future at running back after Steven Jackson leaves.

The Bad: Ra’Shede Hageman cost a high second round pick but has barely seen the field at all this season. He was passed over by many teams in the first round because of his character issues, which were on display on Hard Knocks. Sure he’s raw, but it’s troubling that he’s barely seeing the field at all, even in that blowout against the Bucs. Dimitroff opted not to bolster the tight end position (which now consists of Levine Toilolo and Bear Pascoe) by picking the good pass catching TE out of UGA, Arthur Lynch, in the 5th round; instead taking another CB in Ricardo Allen, who didn’t even make the team (and who is now on the practice squad).

Grade: Incomplete It’s not possible to give Dimitroff a grade for a draft class of players who are only four games into their rookie season. Jake Matthews is a beast, and there will certainly be quite a few pro bowls in his future if he keeps this level of play up, and keeps improving. Hageman has character issues but if defensive line coach Bryan Cox can’t unlock his seemingly limitless potential, then noone will be able to. Hageman has a chance to be one of the NFL’s scariest players if he can get it together, but that’s a big if. If Hageman does indeed realize his potential then Dimitroff will take a big step in earning a grade in the B+ to A range, but if he ends up being a bust then TD will get a C- at best. Marquis Spruill has gone down to season ending knee injury, but his and Dezmond Southward’s development going forward will be a key for defense, going forward.