Falcons announce changes within personnel department

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The Falcons announced several changes within the personnel department, including the promotions of regional scout Michael Ross and area scout Tokunbo Abanikanda to national scouts.

Steve Sabo now will serve as pro director. Phil Emery and Ruston Webster are senior personnel executives, and Joel Collier, Dante Fargnoli and Shepley Heard will serve as area scouts.

The Falcons have also hired Rob Kisiel as a senior pro scout and Benjamin Martinez as a BLESTO scout.

“I’ve had the privilege of working alongside a talented group of associates and have enjoyed strengthening our relationships since joining the Falcons,” Falcons General Manager Terry Fontenot said in a statement. “We’ve had great conversations about opportunities and growth, and I’m looking forward to our team flourishing in new and deserved roles while adding to our already strong team.”

Ross has spent the past 12 seasons with the Falcons, serving as a regional scout the past two seasons.

Abanikanda is entering his 10th season with the Falcons, having served as an area scout covering the Southeast region the past seven years.

This will mark Sabo’s 11th season with the organization. He was promoted to director of player personnel in 2019.

Emery re-joined the Falcons as a national scout in 2016 after originally serving as the director of scouting from 2004-08.

Webster is entering his 34th season in the NFL and his sixth with Atlanta. He joined the Falcons in 2016 as a national scout following four seasons as the General Manager of the Titans.

Collier was a national scout for the Falcons the past two seasons.

Fargnoli has spent the past two seasons as a scouting assistant for the Falcons where he handled various logistical aspects of the scouting department in both college and pro scouting.

Heard joined the Falcons as a scouting assistant in 2005 and most recently served as Atlanta’s director of pro personnel. In his new role, Heard will return to the road covering the southeast region for the Falcons.

Kisiel comes to Atlanta after spending 16 seasons with the Texans, where he served as the director of pro personnel the past four years.

Martinez joins the Falcons after 12 seasons with the Saints.

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