The biblical story of Daniel entering the lions’ den is once again being played out. This time around, however, Atlanta Falcons rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant is playing the part of Daniel, and the lions’ den consists of wide receivers extraordinaire Julio Jones and Roddy White on the training camp field.
If that’s not a rookie’s trial by fire, I don’t know what is.
The pressure is on for Trufant. Not only is he learning the Falcons’ playbook and adapting to the differences between NFL and college play, he’s competing against fellow rookie cornerback Robert Alford for a possible starting position opposite Asante Samuel. He’s fighting to prove he can hold his own against one of the best WR tandems of the NFL in Jones and White. As camp progresses into preseason and regular season action, he’ll be expected to do more than just hold his own.
The Falcons traded up to get Trufant, and that was a valuable acquisition…in spite of early negatively-toned training camp reports. The scouts saw a talented powerhouse that could be a driving force for the team and passed the word along that Trufant was a keeper. He won’t be given the usual allowances that any other rookie would have, considering the loss of Falcons’ cornerbacks in the offseason.
Rest assured, Trufant can and will get the job done when it counts. Though he won’t emerge from training camp (or even the regular season) unscathed—as Daniel did—he will emerge as triumphantly as Daniel did. Being able to hold his own and even excel against the duo of Jones and White will be no small feat, but it’s certainly the best prep possible for the opposing teams that await him in the very near future.
Time is of the essence, and the sound of the ticking clock is second only to the sound of Trufant’s heart pounding.