Atlanta Falcons have had great later round draft success under Thomas Dimitroff


The Atlanta Falcons have been extremely good under general manager at drafting quality players in the later rounds of the draft. Normally that would mean the team should be performing well on a year to year basis.

Like most franchises, the Atlanta Falcons hope to find immediate impact starters in the first three rounds and fill out their depth in the later rounds. When taking a look that the later round picks under Dimitroff, you would be shocked at just how good Dimitroff has been with those picks.

From his first draft in 2008 through his last draft in 2019, Dimitroff has had 53 picks in rounds four through seven. Of those 53 picks, 19 of them have gone on to start at least five games for the Atlanta Falcons at some point in their career. Two of those picks, Grady Jarrett and Devonta Freeman, have gone on to make the Pro-Bowl at least once in their career.

Sure, there are going to be naysayers that will say having this type of success rate is why the franchise is terrible. I would argue that this means one of two things is true – either their success rate in the first three rounds is atrocious or the player development under both former coach Mike Smith and now Dan Quinn are the real issues. Though, all three could be true.

Let’s take a look at the players drafted in the later rounds that have had success under the Thomas Dimitroff run Falcons.

Kroy Biermann, DE, Montana

There was not a more polarizing player on the Falcons roster between 2008 and 2015. Fans either loved Biermann or they hated him when in fact, everyone should have loved him. He was everything in a player that you would hope for.

He loved the fans, the franchise and left it on the field every single game. During his Atlanta Falcons career, he appeared in 114 games and made 37 starts. He logged more than 330 tackles and had 23.5 sacks.

Garrett Reynolds, T, UNC

Reynolds was taken in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL draft and spent four years with the Atlanta Falcons making 23 starts and appearing in 42 games. He would make 15 starts after leaving Atlanta with the Lions and Rams.

Vance Walker, DT, Georgia Tech

Walker was selected by the Falcons in the seventh round and pick 210 overall. He spent seven years in the NFL, his first four with the Atlanta Falcons. During his time with the Falcons, he would start 11 games, make 58 total appearances and would log five sacks. He left in 2013 and joined the Raiders.

Joe Hawley, G/C, UNLV

As we talked about a couple weeks ago, Joe Hawley is one of the better offensive lineman ever drafted by Thomas Dimitroff. They were able to take him 117th overall in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft.

Hawley would play 53 games for the Atlanta Falcons, make 23 starts before leaving to finish his career in Tampa. Hawley retired at the end of 2017 and spent a year touring the country in a van that he documented on Youtube.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

“Quizz” was a great late-round pick for the Atlanta Falcons and was great within the Atlanta Falcons offense during his four years here. At 5’6, he was seen as too small for the NFL by most teams, but the Falcons took a chance and it paid off for them.

During his time in Atlanta, Rodgers averaged almost four yards per carry and more than seven yards per reception to go along with 14 touchdowns; which matched the number of starts he had while in a Falcons uniform. He spent eight years in Atlanta, ending his career in 2018 with current Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Matt Bosher, P, Miami

Matt Bosher spent nine years in Atlanta and was just recently let go by the Falcons. During his time, he was both the kickoff specialist as well as the punter.

While he averaged just 45 yards per punt, Bosher will always be remembered for the knock out tackle he had on then Carolina Panthers return man Kenjon Barner in 2018.

Jonathan Massaquoi, LB, Troy

Massaquoi spent three seasons with the Falcons and made seven starts under Mike Smith in 2013 and 2014.

Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson

Goodman would spend 3.5 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons logging 11 starts and playing in 37 games. He had just three QB hits before being released for good in 2016.

Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford

Another player that got a lot of flack for being whatever the Atlanta Falcons needed him to be, whether it was a tight end or a tackle. He never got enough love for being the blocker that he was and that is something the Falcons miss to this very day.

He made 57 starts for the Atlanta Falcons over five years, played in 79 games and had just under a 1,000 receiving yards in the black and red.

Kemal Ishmael, DB, Central Florida

A huge depth piece for the Atlanta Falcons since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL draft. His versatility as a linebacker and safety make him valuable and have kept him around between the two coaching staffs.

He has made 23 starts for the Atlanta Falcons and has played in 95 of the possible 100 games he has been active for.

Devonta Freeman, RB, FSU

By far one of the two best late-round picks by Thomas Dimitroff. He was an integral part of the 2016 team that made it to the Super Bowl.

Free is sixth all-time on the Falcons rushing list and fourth all-time in the franchises rushing touchdowns list; he is currently just two touchdowns shy of tying Jamal Anderson for third all-time on that list.

Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue

The Atlanta Falcons took Ricardo Allen with the 147th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft and he is one of the more important pieces on the Falcons defense. His stats will never wow you, but he is the eyes on the back end of the Falcons defense and they missed him a lot in 2018 when he missed 13 games.

Justin Hardy, WR, ECU

Over the last couple of years, Hardy seems to be the odd man out coming into the season and always ends up surviving the cut and making the Atlanta Falcons active roster.

Since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, Hardy has made six starts, caught 95 passes for 946 yards and nine touchdowns.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson

The greatest late-round pick in Atlanta Falcons franchise history not just under Thomas Dimitroff. Jarrett is one of the most undervalued players in the league and just gets better year after year. He is on track to join his father in the Falcons ring of honor one day.

He was the steal of the 2015 NFL draft.

De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Minnesota

He started in 54 of his 59 appearances for the Atlanta Falcons. Is currently a free agent and Dimitroff said a month ago, that the team was going to let him test the market in order to see what his real value is before they make an offer.

Wes Schweitzer, G, San Jose State

Still do not understand how he ever made an NFL active roster, let alone has started 36 regular-season games. Like Campbell, the Atlanta Falcons are going to let him test the market in order to see what his real value is before they make an offer.

Damontae Kazee, DB, San Diego State

The former San Diego State Aztec was drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft. He was an intriguing prospect to still be around that late because of his size and ability to play multiple positions in the secondary.

He has started 30 games for the Falcons over this first three seasons and has 10 interceptions over the last two seasons, leading the NFL with seven in 2018.

Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Yale

With 10 starts over his first two seasons and De’Vondre Campbell more than likely not coming back to the Falcons in 2020, Foye is going to get an opportunity to really shine next to Deion Jones un Raheem Morris’ defense.

Next. Is Thomas Dimitroff using sleight of hand?. dark

Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State

Many were shocked to see Sheffield still on the board in 2019 in the fourth round because he had been rated as high as the first by some publications. As a rookie, he got an opportunity to start 11 games and showed why Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn were so excited to grab him that late.

These 18 starters over the last 12 years under Thomas Dimitroff do not include guys like Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Russell Gage, Cliff Matthews or Stansly Maponga who all appeared in a lot of games during their time in Atlanta.