Weekend Plans With Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff
Falcons GM THOMAS DIMITROFF has been with the organization since ’08, making him one of the longest-tenured GMs in the league. He has attended almost three decades worth of Combines, but every year is just as exciting as the last. Dimitroff recently caught up with THE DAILY to share what he’s looking for this week at the Combine in Indianapolis and memories from years past.
STUDYING THE PLAYBOOK: From a GM's perspective, our number one goal is to get the medical information that we need from the players in one fell swoop. Everyone reports here, goes through the battery of tests and we can determine if we are in a good place medically with the players we’re interested in. That’s a very important part of this process. The next element we're really keen on is the ability to have formal and informal interviews with players. For a formal interview, the head coach, GM, personnel directors and usually some coordinators will be in the room. It gives us an opportunity to drill down on a certain player and ask questions we need answered specifically during our 18-minute allotment. We approach the interviews in a way so that we get really consistent feedback from all the players we’re interested in. That way, we can juxtapose the answers from one player to the next. The informal interviews are conducted by position coaches, which are important when gauging a player’s scheme prowess and football IQ, and are more character and persona related. Starting Thursday night through the weekend, we really dig into what I love at the Combine -- the on-field drills -- contrary to those who say it's just the “Underwear Olympics.”
SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS: There definitely is significance with us having three picks in the first two rounds. Anytime you come off a 7-9 season, you do a lot of research and ruminate on what our next directions are and how we're going to adjust and change. I've always said if you end up making a strong push in a 10-6 year, you're maybe not addressing some of the issues at hand. I think (Falcons coach) DAN QUINN and I spent a lot of time this offseason really honing in on what needs to be adjusted and, in regards to the Combine, for us to come in here and really do a good job. Picks 16, 47 and 55 are going to be really important for the future of our organization, and we're excited about the type of players in this Draft and at the Combine.
GOOD OL' TIMES: This is my 27th or 28th year now attending the Combine. But way back in my earlier years when I was first starting off, I was responsible for the three cone drill and I spent many years in that area before I moved on. Looking back on it, I still remember timing TOM BRADY and some of those star players that ended up going on to be legit stars and Hall of Famers, and now watching how they've progressed since then has always been something that has been dear to my heart. Believe it or not, some of the older guys that I see at the Combine still call me the three cone guy even though I've been a GM now for 13 years. It's a little funny.
CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: I did not bring my bike with me, but I did rent a spin bike from a local bike shop for me to have in my room. I've gotten some good spins early on in the week but that tails off because our schedule is so jam packed. All I really needed to do was get Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and maybe a little bit of Wednesday, and then after that, I’ll probably lose my focus on my spin. But it's important for me. I need my sanity.
On his Draft day ritual: I usually get a nice bike ride in on Draft day to clear my mind. Honestly, a lot of the finalizing of our deal with JULIO JONES happened on my bike. Having my bike on Draft day or around the Draft is an important part of keeping me sane and hopefully making the right decisions.
On how the Combine has evolved: Every team now has a viewing suite, and the location of that suite is picked in basically a draft. That is much better than sitting out in the stadium stairs, which is how it used to be when I was coming up in those early years.
On his biking bucket list: I think about Mont Ventoux and some of the classic rides, no question about it. I would love to spend more time in Chamonix and just really hang out in France and do a lot of cycling in the area.
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