Pioli Hired As Falcons New Assistant GM
Apparently, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was not joking when he predicted that his team will go from worst to first in 2014. On Wednesday, he continued to inch closer to fulfilling his promise by hiring four-time NFL Executive of the Year honoree Scott Pioli as the Falcons new assistant GM. Pioli will start his work to bring in fresh talent on February 3, after he completes his contract with NBC Sports and SiriusXM Radio as an informationalist. Blank stated that GM Thomas Dimitroff made the initial push for the organization to get Pioli.
''We have made the commitment to improve every aspect of our organization this offseason, and with the addition of Scott to our personnel department, we have taken an important step to enhance our scouting staff,'' Dimitroff told reporters following the hiring of his friend and former Patriots colleague.
This the same Pioli responsible for helping orchestrate the dynasty in New England in the 2000s, where the Patriots won three out of four Super Bowls between 2001 and 2008. Pioli is most famous for evaluating, and eventually helping draft, QB Tom Brady. The former sixth-round pick in 2000 has won three Super Bowls, made nine trips to the Pro Bowl and earned two MVP awards in what is turning out to be a Hall of Fame career. Pioli was also responsible for having a hand in bringing in players who were on the 2008 team that went on to win all of its regular season games and was seconds away from going four-for-four in Super Bowl wins in the last decade.
In addition to working for the Patriots as director and vice president of player personnel, Pioli served as the Kansas City Chiefs GM from 2009-2012, and worked in the pro personnel department for the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens between 1992 and 2000. Note that in the 1996 NFL Draft, as the pro personnel coordinator for the Ravens, he was involved in drafting two cornerstones for the franchise in the first round - LB Ray Lewis and OT Jonathan Ogden.
As shocked as I am with this hiring, I am more than proud of Blank for making the right move. Atlanta is in need of more talent on the defensive side of the ball, depth on an injury-riddled offensive line, a long-term answer at running back and perhaps another tight end to fill the large shoes of Tony Gonzalez (should Lee Toilolo fail to step up). Pioli is excellent in finding gems in the late rounds (like Brady) and finding free agents that can be missing pieces to a championship-caliber team. Though he will have a lot of work ahead of him between February and the start of training camp, I think Pioli can get people that can ball, become key players and buy into Blank’s philosophy of good citizenship.
I can’t wait to see which players Pioli will evaluate and help bring in this offseason. Who knows, he might help produce one of the greatest draft classes in Falcons’ history.