2016 was a huge year for Thomas Dimitroff, Dan Quinn and the Falcons. 2015 left a bad taste in the mouths of Falcons fans as the team started out 5-0 but would go 3-8 in their final 11 games. However, the team showed flashes of being able to move on from the Mike Smith era and that Dan Quinn was in the fact the right higher.
Dan Quinn made excuses for the finish to 2015 but did say he wanted to become fast and physical on defense. Quinn wanted to build Seattle 2.0 here in Atlanta and 2016 would go a long way to doing just that.
With their first pick, 17th overall, Dimitroff would select Safety Keanu Neal out of the University of Florida. Many Falcons fans and local media assumed that this was a familiar pick for Quinn as he recruited Neal out of high school to go to Florida when he was the Defensive Coordinator for Will Muschamp. Fan and local media were furious that Dimitroff would reach on a guy they all deemed to have a second-round grade. What they tend to not mention in Neal was at the Draft as the NFL clearly had gotten enough feedback from teams that Neal was seen a first-round pick and should be invited.
In his first three seasons, Neal has become known as one of the hardest hitting Safeties in the NFL, made the all-NFL rookie team in 2016, was a pro-bowl selection in 2017 and has started all 31 games in which he has played.