Coach Mike Smith, along with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, stresses that his plan for the Falcons is to build through the draft and supplement through free agency. This past April, the Falcons drafted eight players (six on defense) who will try to make an impact and have long NFL careers — cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (Washington, first round) and Robert Alford (Southeastern Louisiana, second round), defensive end Malliciah Goodman (Clemson, fourth round), tight end Levine Toilolo (Stanford, fourth round), defensive end Stansly Maponga (TCU, fifth round), defensive backs Kemal Ishmael (Central Florida, seventh round)and Zeke Motta (Notre Dame, seventh round) and quarterback Sean Renfree (Duke, seventh round). Trufant and Renfree are the only picks who haven’t signed a contract.
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Staff writers D. Orlando Ledbetter and Michael Cunningham contributed to this article.