Depth won't drive Dimitroff's thoughts

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
7:10
PM ET
Some folks have criticized Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff for the Julio Jones trade in 2011, saying that Dimitroff sacrificed team depth in the process.

Remember, he surrendered five picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up from 27th in the first round to sixth for Jones. And all was well until Jones went down with a season-ending foot injury last year. The Falcons' lack of depth got exposed in a 4-12 collapse a year after making it to the NFC title game.

[+] Enlarge Thomas Dimitroff
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesFalcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has proven to be aggressive in making trades during the NFL draft.
Reflecting on the Jones trade Wednesday, Dimitroff saw no need to apologize.

"I would never question what we did in 2011," Dimitroff said. "I’m completely at ease at what we did as far as, you know, adding one of the most explosive players in this league and what he can do for us. And Julio was fantastic.

"Moving forward, as far as gaining knowledge about depth, depth is very important. There’s no question about it. Usually your depth, however, are backups. So when you have injuries, a lot of times, it’s difficult for the backups to step up and do what they need to do 100 percent and equally to what your starters do. I think it’s very important to keep in perspective what depth does for your organization and for your roster. It’s very important, no question about it. But I think we have to keep it in perspective."

Dimitroff's logic might be another indicator of his willingness to move up for a coveted player such as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, although staying pat at No. 6 is likely to give the Falcons a quality starter and impact player. He already has discussed trade scenarios with teams he declined to identify. He realizes trading up with a team like Houston, which holds the No. 1 overall pick, is going to cost at least a future first-round pick to go with that sixth pick and likely another pick.

Without naming a specific player, Dimitroff was asked if there was a player worth trading up for in this draft class.

"I think there are a number of good football players that we would consider," Dimitroff said. "We are always going through that scenario and discuss what truly is worth moving up for and potentially giving up picks. We’ve gone round to round with the statistics of where players play and how much they play and how often they start through different parts of the draft. We’re very calculated with our analytics approach to things. And I think, again, we feel very comfortable when go into the draft that we’re going to make the right decision, giving all the analytics that we have as well as our experiences in drafting."

The dissection process will continue over the next week in preparation for next Thursday's draft.

"We’re still projecting in the top 10,'' Dimitroff said. "And we’re going through countless scenarios. But, interestingly enough, with six people and not 20 to 32 different people I think that’s been interesting for us. It’s really allowed us to focus on, you know, what our needs are."

The most pressing needs are an offensive tackle and pass-rusher.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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