With a top-tier offensive unit already in place, the Atlanta Falcons were targeting some additions to their defense in this year’s NFL Draft. The secondary was a clear area of need, and the Falcons wasted no time, taking cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford in the first and second rounds.
Trufant is a pick that’s been mostly well received, but there are certainly people critical of Atlanta’s decision to trade up and select him at No. 22. Xavier Rhodes was also available, but the Falcons opted for the smaller and quicker Trufant. It looks like that’s what it boiled down to with Atlanta’s first two picks, they wanted to get faster.
With the departure of two veteran corners in Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson, it’s clear the Falcons want to inject some youth into their secondary. Both Trufant and Alford have a ton of raw talent, but it will no doubt be quite the adjustment process, especially for Alford coming from Southeastern Louisiana.
What the Falcons have done is not ideal. Losing some of the veteran presence in their secondary will hurt in the short-term, but this is ultimately a move that will pay off in the long-term. For the sake of the Falcons’ Super Bowl hopes, these young corners are going to have to step up to the plate, big time.
They’ll have great tutelage from Asante Samuel, who is now the most veteran corner on the roster, by seven years. I think that fact alone speaks volumes about what’s going on in the Atlanta secondary in 2013. It’s safe to say, a lot will be resting on young players like Trufant and Alford. But lucky for them, there’s an elite offense on the other side of the ball.
Follow Andrew Fisher on Twitter