Dimitroff: Quinn's faith in Falcons' rookie defenders 'amazing'

How much can a rookie class contribute to a Super Bowl run?

More than conventional wisdom would suggest, according to Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

The Falcons are a game away from the franchise's first Super Bowl title with four rookie starters on the defensive side of the ball, and Dimitroff believes head coach Dan Quinn's willingness to let the club's rookies play through mistakes has generated rapid development.

"He's a guy who's going to develop young talent," Dimitroff said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He has all kinds of nerve to go into this season and start four rookie defensive players. To me, that's amazing."

Dimitroff said other personnel men around the league have called him to praise Quinn's reliance on the team's rookies. The Falcons GM also believes Quinn's stance will allow the club to assess a player's long-term potential more accurately.

"In today's world, if you don't develop your players now, three years from now, those players don't reach their potential, you are not really sure if you're cutting them prematurely or not," Dimitroff said.

As the No. 17 overall pick of the 2016 draft, a starting role should be expected for safety Keanu Neal. The Falcons defense has gotten plenty of mileage out of its subsequent picks as well, however. Second-round pick Deion Jones made 13 regular-season starts at middle linebacker, and has made 11 tackles and an interception in two postseason games. Fourth-round pick De'Vondre Campbell started 10 regular-season and both postseason games at outside linebacker. Then there is Brian Poole, an undrafted rookie from Florida who has emerged as a key contributor in the Falcons secondary.

Rookie TE Austin Hooper has seen action in the Atlanta offense, as well.

Relying heavily on rookies can be a frightening proposition for NFL coaches, understandably so. But Atlanta's rookies are now fire-tested, and Quinn has reaped the benefits all the way to the Super Bowl.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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