Falcons to keep character filter on draft picks

Despite the change at the head coaching position, the Falcons will continue to draft players with good character backgrounds.

With the addition of new coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons will look for different sized players, but will not move too far away from drafting players who have exhibited good character.

“We’ve always been particularly about making sure that we have the right fit,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Understanding, that we’ve never, ever stressed that we are so judgmental to ever think that we are going to have a bunch angelic souls.”

The key assessment for the Falcons is to get players who believe in working together within the structure of the team. Quinn has repeatedly talked about celebrating the “uniqueness” of players that may be added to the roster.

“Some of those guys may be a little different,” Dimitroff said. “They may have a little different upbringing. They may have rubs or challenges that they had to face.”

Dimitroff doesn’t see that as the team relaxing some of its standards.

“We’re open to, no question, acquiring football players like that,” Dimitroff said. “ Part of it has to do with making sure that they are able to deal with the issues at hand and how we can help them moving forward. We are open to having football players with a lot of different backgrounds…We are totally understanding of that.”

The Falcons have placed black dots on their draft board to denote players with difficult issues. However, last season they did draft former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo, who had a complex case that was heavily investigated by the Falcons.

“I don’t think there will be any more or any less (players with black dots),” Dimitroff said. “Again, we are very cognizant of what our guidelines are. We talked to Dan and his staff about that as well. That’s important for us. Ultimately, we are, as you know, a value-driven organization.”

Owner Arthur Blank sets the tone for the football operations.

“It comes down from Mr. Blank and that’s very important for this organization,” Dimitroff said. “We also understand the importance of winning football games. We make sure that we keep it all in consideration. Are we any more particular now? We have always been particular, so I’m thinking we’re not going to change as far as our acquisition approach.”