I'm generally not a big fan of hiring coaches and general managers just because they come from successful organizations. If the Patriots are successful because of decisions made by Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick or because they lucked into drafting an all-time great quarterback in the sixth round, then it doesn't make sense to hire one of Pioli's underlings. The variable to this hire is what sort of role Dimitroff played in the Patriots organization. The various articles about him describe him as being in charge of the Pats' college scouting. If that is indeed the case and he was making college player evaluations, then this is a great hire.
The Patriots, like the Colts, have been consistently successful because they have great quarterbacks and they surround those quality players with talent through the Draft. The free agent market in the NFL is simply too expensive to be used heavily in team-building. Compare the way the Falcons have drafted in recent years to the Colts or Patriots. It's not close. The Patriots came off of a Super Bowl championship in 2004 and found quality starters with their first three picks in the 2005 Draft. The Colts came off of a Super Bowl championship in 2006 and found quality starters with their first two picks. The Falcons had three picks in the top 50 this April and got precious little collectively out of Jammal Anderson, Chris Houston, and Justin Blalock. (In the interest of full disclosure, I thought these were good picks. It's probably unfair to write the picks off after a year in which the Falcons were a complete train wreck and were on the receiving end of one of the worst coaching jobs in recorded history.) The Falcons will have three picks in the top 50 this year. They need someone like Dimitroff making those selections.
In terms of salary cap management, it's hard to say whether Dimitroff has much experience. Hopefully, he learned from watching Scott Pioli and won't overpay for free agents. The Patriots have studiously avoided the sort of mistakes the Falcons have made in allocating cap dollars, mistakes like overpaying to keep your average veterans (see: Brooking, Keith), not paying to keep your truly valuable veterans (see: Kerney, Patrick), or paying #2 players as if they are #1s (see: Price, Peerless). Hopefully, Arthur Blank will stay out of the decision-making process and let Dimitroff make decisions.
Jeff Schultz has a quality column on the hire. Money graf:
The Falcons didn’t need to hire the big name. The Falcons only had to hire somebody to fix a mess. Tom Dimitroff — meet your mess.
The next few years will tell us if owner Arthur Blank chose well. This much we know: Blank has absorbed a lot of criticism of late. But after being conned by Bobby Petrino, used by Bill Parcells and dancing an illogical dance with Pete Carroll, he bounced back with a reasoned choice, free of emotion, pyrotechnics and clowns with exploding feet.
Blank didn’t hire a sideshow. He hired a football guy.