USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta's director of player personnel is gone. What will it mean for the Falcons in the short term?
Successful organizations can't keep successful people around forever -- it's a reality of the NFL. There will always be teams lacking guidance, and those who are ample to be pilfered from. Last year the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars made a swap at offensive coordinator, as Mike Mularkey left to become head coach for the Jaguars, while Dirk Koetter arrived in Atlanta are made the Falcons' offense its best in years. Now another member of the Falcons organization has left, and this one will be harder to replace.
Orchestrating some of the team's best draft moves over the past five years, director of player personnel David Caldwell was announced as the Jacksonville Jaguars' new general manager on Tuesday. While the Falcons' director of college scouting, it was said that Caldwell was a driving factor behind the team's decision to trade up for Julio Jones, and his track record of finding talent speaks for itself.
Increasing his role in 2012 -- it was a matter of time before the Atlanta Falcons lost David Caldwell to a talent bereft front office somewhere else in the league. In his first year leading the department, DeJuan Polk has been with the Atlanta Falcons for seven years, but only now leads the scouting department. With Caldwell leaving, he may have become the most important member of Atlanta's front office after Thomas Dimitroff.
The Falcons have lost their sounding board, a multi-year talented executive with experience at multiple levels. The saving grace is that they have a long-term plan, clearly happy with Polk. It's important to remember that the departure of David Caldwell may not be felt as early as April's draft. At this point scouts are well into their evaluation, and understand what the team needs. Long term, however, Atlanta just lost their best talent evaluator -- and the next few years will have to be handled perfectly from a scouting perspective to keep them on track. They better hope that DeJuan Polk is everything David Caldwell was.