Going into training camp for the first time, Atlanta Falcons rookie CB Desmond Trufant will have an opportunity to shine for the Falcons in a secondary unit that continues to get better.
Drafted 22nd overall out of Washington in the 2013 NFL Draft, the 2012 All-Pac-12 first-team player was graded as the top cover corner in the draft, and the Falcons are hoping that the Husky product will be the playmaker that will make the ‘Dirty Birds’ fly defensively.
With the Falcons losing their second and third best corners in Brent Grimes to the Miami Dolphins and Dunta Robinson to the Kansas City Chiefs, Trufant will most likely be competing against CB Robert McClain for the opposite starting position, along with fellow rookie CB Robert Alford.
Despite the heartbreaking loss in the NFC Championship Game last season, the back line for the Falcons did improve in one particular area.
Under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, his defense created 31 takeaways total, 20 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles. 20 of those interceptions came from his corners and safeties. The Falcons were one of the top takeaway teams during the 2012-13 campaign, which led them to a 13-3 record in the regular season and first in the NFC South Division.
Even though Trufant hasn’t played a single down in the NFL, he has shown tremendous skills in both his playmaking abilities and ball skills, especially during the Senior Bowl. During his four years at Washington, Trufant recorded six interceptions, 32 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one blocked punt. While these stats may not be all that impressive, most teams stayed away from Trufant and did not throw passes in his direction often.
In a passing league, the secondary has become much more vital in recent years and has been a concern for many teams. Trufant has every chance to shine not only in training camp, but in game time as well. If Trufant can capitalize on his opportunity to make an impact for the Falcons, they could feature perhaps one of the most athletic and dynamic secondaries in the league.
With Trufant on board, the Falcons will possess possibly their best duo corners in a long time, as CB Asante Samuel is still considered one of the best playmakers in the NFL. Throw in their dynamic duo of SS William Moore and FS Thomas DeCoud; Coach Mike Smith might experience his most athletic group of defensive backs during his five years in Atlanta.
Overall, the Falcons have the right combination of youth and experience to make huge strides in their pass coverage and pass defense all together. With seasoned veteran in Samuel, and maturity in Moore and DeCoud, Trufant has the perfect scenario to make an impact.
There is no doubt that Trufant possesses all the skills and athleticism one requires to be a successful corner in the NFL. Only time will tell if he will capture this moment of opportunity to truly shine. Just like the great Deion Sanders says, “Its Game Time”.