Falcons' Dimitroff says Vital would be great hire by Bucs as GM
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff would hate to lose another top front office executive to another NFL team -- much less one in the NFC South -- but he said the Bucs would be wise to hire Lionel Vital.
The 50-year-old Vital was promoted to director of player personnel by the Falcons last season. He interviewed Saturday for the Bucs' position of general manager and will have a second interview Tuesday. If Vital were to be hired, he would join Rams general manager Les Snead and Jaguars GM David Caldwell as Dimitroff disciples who have been groomed in the system he brought to Atlanta from the New England Patriots.
Other candidates for the Bucs' job as general manager include Lake Dawson, the Titans vice president of player personnel, Morocco Brown, the Redskins director of pro personnel and Marc Ross, the Giants vice president of player evaluation. Dawson also interviewed with the Miami Dolphins for their vacant GM position. Dawson and Ross are also expected to receive second interviews.
Since 2008, the Falcons have the sixth-highest winning percentage under Dimitroff.
Dimitroff said Vital has been an integral part of the Falcons' decision to swing big trades for players such as tight end Tony Gonzalez and receiver Julio Jones. He also watched the development of a young quarterback in Matt Ryan.
"He came in when we picked Matt,'' Dimitroff said. "He's had the opportunity to see a young, evolving quarterback. He had an opportunity to be around some pretty big trades in the Tony Gonzalez trade and the Julio Jones trade. He was right in there and an integral part of our decision-making plan. We all had a really good relationship and we had a pretty good think tank going there.
"This will be three in a row, I don't want to lose another guy. But in the end, I believe that. I've said that all the time. I'm about helping people get opportunities. I was helped by Scott and Bill. I learned as much as I could and that's what happens. But I really believe Lionel is a great candidate for that job.''
Finally, Dimitroff believes Vital's personality will mesh with that of new Bucs coach Lovie Smith.
"He's a fine people person,'' Dimitroff said. "The people in our building really love his leadership style. He's very direct in his own way. He's very mindful and understanding, he's not a brow beater in any way, but he's got a very nice presence about him. I believe he and Lovie would have a really good relationship. To me, they just really would have nice meshed personalities.''