Coming in at the 18th spot is cornerback Desmond Trufant. Click here to see the scoring system used to devise these rankings.
Total Score: 55
Player Grade: 56 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 9 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 2 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 25 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +5
Positional Bonus: +4
At the 18th spot, Desmond Trufant marks the highest-ranked player that has yet to suit up for the Falcons. His higher ranking over more proven defenders like Stephen Nicholas and Kroy Biermann is largely due to his upside. As well as the fact that Trufant could potentially play a decade in Atlanta at peak level.
Trufant wasn’t a cornerback that I loved at Washington, but he certainly does have talent. Whether he will approach the upper echelon of players in the league remains to be seen but he can certainly be a valuable player for the Falcons moving forward.
Rookie corners typically don’t come in right away and produce at a high level, as they will often go through their share of ups and downs. But despite this, Trufant still has the potential to be an immediate upgrade over former right cornerback Dunta Robinson. That is because he has ball skills. That along with awareness were traits that Robinson lacked, leading to too many mental errors from him throughout his Falcon tenure. What mental errors Trufant may have in 2013 will be on account of youth, which couldn’t be used to excuse a nine-year veteran like Robinson last season. While Trufant only picked off six passes during his four years at Washington, he did break up 38 passes, including a combined 25 the past two years. That ability to break up passes should come in handy as Trufant likely will be tested often with Samuel playing across him.
Trufant will have to prove himself this summer, as he’ll compete with fellow rookie Robert Alford for the starting spot opposite Asante Samuel. But the expectation is that Trufant will win the job, even with a somewhat late start to the off-season. But his commitment to the team was clearly on display as he continued to work hard to keep up even as league rules prevented him from working with the team. That is very indicative of the work ethic and dedication that Trufant has, and it’s hard to imagine that not being rewarded with a starting spot when the Falcons open the season against the New Orleans Saints in September.