Atlanta Falcons: Scott Pioli’s Resignation Is Concerning

Atlanta Falcons, Scott Pioli (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Scott Pioli (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Jake Matthews (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Turnaround

Scott Pioli who was once Thomas Dimitroff’s boss in New England, was hired by the Atlanta Falcons in 2014, as assistant general manager. Pioli was the Chiefs general manager just prior to his stint in Atlanta. The draft turnaround happened immediately opon his arrival, as Jake Matthews who has developed into a Pro Bowl left tackle, was drafted with the Falcons first round pick. The team also selected Ra’Shede Hageman in round two. He was showing flashes of being an impact player, before legal troubles forced him away from the NFL for two seasons. The book is not closed on Hageman though, as he has just returned to the team. Atlanta also continued to draft skill positions and secondary well, selecting running back Devonta Freeman in round four and safety Ricardo Allen in round five. Allen was the first hidden gem found in the later rounds of the NFL Draft under the Dimitroff regime, though he did not realize that talent under Mike Smith. Smith cut Allen, but Dan Quinn converted him to free safety a year later, where he is now the Falcons starter.

Dan Quinn arrived in 2015 and the Atlanta Falcons continued their improvement in making draft picks. Vic Beasley was the first draft selection of the Quinn era. Vic has been mostly disappointing, with the exception of the 2016 season, in which he led the NFL in sacks. However a real hidden gem was found in round five, as defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was scooped up by Atlanta. Jarrett has developed into a top ten NFL interior defensive lineman.

The Falcons had a great draft in 2016, obtaining two pro bowl players, safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones in the first two rounds. The team also found their third hidden gem, by drafting linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in round four. Campbell is currently the team’s starting strong side linebacker. Yet the team also continued to draft good skill position players, selecting Austin Hooper who has developed into a reliable target for Matt Ryan, after struggling to catch the ball early in his career.