Polar Bear Jones Posted August 6, 2015 Share Posted August 6, 2015 (edited) Trufant's time is about to arriveThird-year cornerback should emerge as star on improving defense.MARK BRADLEY MY OPINIONFLOWERY BRANCH Lost in the rubble of the past two seasons was this: The Falcons have someone capable of playing a lick of defense. In 2013, Pro Football Focus rated Desmond Trufant, then a rookie, the leagues eighth-best cornerback; in 2014, the analytic site rated him the seventh-best. This isnt quite like Steve Carlton winning 27 games for the last-place Phillies, but its not far off.Its not easy being a good player on a bad unit, but the latter part is open to change. And if the Falcons can muster even a smidgen of a pass rush, the watching world will see how skilled Desmond Trufant truly is, and he believes himself and not in a bragging way to be special.Asked Wednesday if he thinks hes capable of being a top-tier cornerback, Trufant said: Definitely. I already feel like Im there.He mentioned the names of those he considered the NFLs best at the most difficult defensive position: Richard Sherman of Seattle; Darrelle Revis of the Jets, Brent Grimes of Miami (and a former Falcon) and Vontae Davis of Indianapolis (whom the Falcons could have drafted instead of Peria Jerry, since retired).Of that elite grouping, Trufant said: Everybodys different in his own way. Everybodys got his strengths. Everybodys got his weaknesses. But I feel like Im right there with anybody. Thats what Im here for, to be that guy. Thats what Im going to do.At 6-foot, Trufant is a shade taller than Revis, Grimes and Davis. Its the 6-3 Sherman, however, to whom he figures to be most likened in the days ahead. Sherman is the No. 1 corner on the defense Dan Quinn used to coach; Trufant stands to be the No. 1 corner on the team Dan Quinn is coaching now.Trufant has watched video of the Seahawks defense. Theyve mastered it, he said. Theyve been in it a long time. I definitely take things from them. But I have my own game. Im just trying to apply that to the defense.Of Quinns defense, Trufant said: Its a different scheme. For the corners its not as complex, but the safeties have got to do a little moving around, a lot of talking. From what Ive seen so far, weve been flying around making plays, getting interceptions, breaking balls up. Were going to be real aggressive this year. Thats what I know.For a defense, the sharp edge of aggression is the pass rush, a commodity lately in short supply. Even the best secondary not that the Falcons have had the best secondary, either cannot cover forever. The arrival of edge rusher Vic Beasley should heighten the up-front pressure and, as Quinn has suggested, a quarterback who can be made to throw early is a lessened quarterback.A quarterback who throws early also is prone to turnovers. Trufant managed five interceptions his first two seasons. With the help of a pass rush, he might lead the league some year soon. Its coming, its coming, he said. Here he smiled. Its all a work in progress.In conversation, Quinn has made it clear he expects Trufant to become a Big Deal. The coachs instructions? Be a leader, Trufant said. Lead by example. Be disciplined in my technique. Things like that because the guys look to me. Just work hard. Every day get better at something.As the Falcons plunged from the 13-3 of 2012, it became fashionable to fault Thomas Dimitroff for doing nothing to upgrade the defense. Thats not entirely true. In April 2013, Dimitroff made a Round 1 trade with St. Louis to advance eight places to draft Trufant No. 22 overall. It mightnt have had the impact of picking Matt Ryan No. 3 in 2008 or the sizzle of trading five-for-one for Julio Jones in 2011, but Trufant already ranks as the best defender this general manager has acquired. (With Beasley pending.)A lot of perseverance is how Trufant recalls his first two NFL seasons. We havent had a lot of wins, but you have to keep fighting, keep improving. Its only going to make me better.Does he see himself as the next Richard Sherman, in value if not verbiage? I see me as myself, Trufant said. Im me. Im looking to take that next step, be the best out there. Edited August 6, 2015 by Polar Bear Jones Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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