- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - Thomas Dimitroff is determined to make this a normal NFL draft.

Lockout? No lockout? Dimitroff insists the league’s labor unrest won’t be a factor when he leads his fourth draft as the Falcons’ general manager. Atlanta has the No. 27 overall selection in the first round on Thursday night.

Dimitroff concedes it has been an unusual offseason. He can’t negotiate with free agents, and he says “much uncertainty” remains about what will follow the three-day NFL draft.

He says it is more important than ever to make sure this is “like any normal draft” for the Falcons, who are coming off a 13-win season.

Dimitroff says he’s looking for explosive players. Defensive end is a top need. The Falcons might look for a wide receiver early in the draft.

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