FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Thomas Dimitroff seemed surprised by the suggestion he might not try to make a bold move up from the Falcons' No. 31 spot in Thursday night's first round of the NFL draft.
Dimitroff's pattern is clear. "Trader Tom" is always looking to deal. A Super Bowl appearance isn't likely to change that.
Dimitroff has made at least one trade in each of his nine drafts as the team's general manager, usually moving up. It shouldn't be a surprise if he looks for a way to move up again — possibly as high as the middle of the round.
"Why would we not?" he asked last week.
Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn will be working their third draft together, and it has been a successful relationship. Quinn started four rookies on last year's defense as Atlanta lost to New England in the Super Bowl. Quinn's willingness to play rookies has made Dimitroff's recent drafts look like big hits.
"To play with four rookies is music to our ears as personnel people, because we know we're going to get young guys in and get them trained well," Dimitroff said.
Dimitroff knows he's drafting players Quinn sees as a fit to make an immediate impact.
"That gives us an opportunity to be mindful of how we approach the draft, because we can go after people and we can get them on the field right away," he said.
The defense has been overhauled in the last two drafts with the additions of such players as 2015 first-rounder Vic Beasley, who led the NFL with 15 ½ sacks last season, 2016 first-rounder Keanu Neal, linebackers Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and cornerback Jalen Collins.
Quinn, the former Seattle defensive coordinator, might like to add more defensive help with the team's first pick in this draft, even after the team's offseason signing of free-agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe .
Atlanta may draft another edge rusher to complement Beasley or a safety to work with Neal.
"I think when we look back years from now this will come back through as a class that had a strong defensive line," Quinn said.
"I think the secondary is a good group, too. When you go through those two positions, the depth that goes all the way down through the draft has been impressive."
The Falcons also might draft an offensive guard to replace Chris Chester, who retired. A possible pick is Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp. Dimitroff and Quinn expect veterans Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer, a 2016 sixth-round pick, to compete for the right guard spot.
Dimitroff earned his trade-happy reputation with a huge deal in 2011. He gave up five picks, including two first-rounders, from his 2011 and 2012 drafts to move up from No. 27 and select Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the No. 6 overall pick.
Dimitroff was criticized for giving up too many picks, but Jones became a franchise player while the five players selected by Cleveland with the picks obtained from Atlanta are no longer in the league.
"We've been aggressive here for many years," Dimitroff said. "Every year we've gone into the draft we've been aggressive."
Dimitroff moved up from No. 30 to No. 22 in 2013 to select cornerback Desmond Trufant , who also became an immediate starter.
"I think the reality is again the opportunity to potentially move up into the 20s potentially is there," he said. "There will be some interesting opportunities, I believe."
Dimitroff said he and Quinn are "very open to both sides of the ball" if they stay with the 31st pick.
Perhaps hinting at the possibility of drafting an offensive guard, he said the pick at No. 31 "might not be necessarily a fan favorite."