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Trufants Time Is About To Arrive By Mark Bradley


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Trufant's time is about to arrive

Third-year cornerback should emerge as star on improving defense.

MARK BRADLEY MY OPINION

FLOWERY 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 by Polar Bear Jones
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It wouldn't be the AJC without the obligatory cheap shots buried within the text:

"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'

I swear, these muckrakers Shultz and Bradley cannot help but show their hatred for the franchise even when trying to pen a fluff piece on a player.

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Trufant and Optimus Grimes...sigh.

If only.

If only someone had a crystal ball back then and could guarantee Grimes wouldn't get hurt again. Good he made a full recovery but it's hard to justify a large investment in a 30 year old corner with back to back injury-marred seasons...

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When I read anything from Mark Bradley I can see his smug, self satisfying face congratulating himself for the little digs at the franchise.

Oh, and Mark, you're way late on this. Tru has been identified long before you finally woke up to it.

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It wouldn't be the AJC without the obligatory cheap shots buried within the text:

"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'

I swear, these muckrakers Shultz and Bradley cannot help but show their hatred for the franchise even when trying to pen a fluff piece on a player.

If only it weren't true. Since it is, it's a fair assessment. Whether you like it or not.

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If only it weren't true. Since it is, it's a fair assessment. Whether you like it or not.

I'm okay with him mentioning that Grimes used to be a former Falcon, but what the heck was the point of mentioning that we could have drafted Vontae Davis instead of Peria Jerry?!?

Davis isn't even playing for the franchise that drafted him haha

Oh, and we could have drafted or signed Darelle Revis ... and we could have drafted Richard Sherman, too. Why specifically keep bringing up Jerry, especially since Peria looked promising before he shredded his knee?

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I'm okay with him mentioning that Grimes used to be a former Falcon, but what the heck was the point of mentioning that we could have drafted Vontae Davis instead of Peria Jerry?!?

Davis isn't even playing for the franchise that drafted him haha

Oh, and we could have drafted or signed Darelle Revis ... and we could have drafted Richard Sherman, too. Why specifically keep bringing up Jerry, especially since Peria looked promising before he shredded his knee?

Cheap shot from Bradley. Shocker....

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If only it weren't true. Since it is, it's a fair assessment. Whether you like it or not.

Only that there are at times no point to it.

It's not that it's dishonest, it's that it's pompous and unnecessary. It's appropriate to call something like that out.

Edited by ATLFalcons11
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Bradley and Shultz have a well known history of taking cheap shots at Blank and trying to portray him as a bumbling, meddling, idiot owner most recently with our coaching search.

Thus, by first pointing out the best CBs in the NFL, then pointing out Grimes was a former Falcon, THEN pointing out we could have drafted Davis over the 'retired' Jerry, Bradley is CLEARLY taking a cheap shot. Why didnt he mentioned we could have drafted some bust at our then current draft position rather than trading up for Trufant?

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That's a lot of aggravation over a point in an article, that wasn't at all incorrect. Doesn't matter how you slice it, it's still true regardless of how you look at it. You deal with it, know it was true and move on. It wasn't arrogant or anything else, and it does fit with the topic. They do this a lot and even to the teams you guys think the coddle. Its called "media" and I pay little to no attention to it.

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Bradley and Shultz have a well known history of taking cheap shots at Blank and trying to portray him as a bumbling, meddling, idiot owner most recently with our coaching search.

Thus, by first pointing out the best CBs in the NFL, then pointing out Grimes was a former Falcon, THEN pointing out we could have drafted Davis over the 'retired' Jerry, Bradley is CLEARLY taking a cheap shot. Why didnt he mentioned we could have drafted some bust at our then current draft position rather than trading up for Trufant?

You're starting to take on this "picked on" type complex man.

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You're starting to take on this "picked on" type complex man.

You just got done saying on a previous post if its factual then its fine for Bradley to say.

Yet, it is factual the AJC takes cheap shots at Blank. All I did was state the facts, I'd think if you follow your own rules you'd be defending my right to speak truth as well as Mark Bradleys right.

School is out for the day/

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You just got done saying on a previous post if its factual then its fine for Bradley to say.

Yet, it is factual the AJC takes cheap shots at Blank. All I did was state the facts, I'd think if you follow your own rules you'd be defending my right to speak truth as well as Mark Bradleys right.

School is out for the day/

Its media. Big deal.

You've gotten to the point where anything they say that isn't positive upsets you. You use to not be that way. Whatever man, its all gravy. Do you.

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Kind of cheap shot about Vontae v Perry but All of sports is speculation. This whole board exists to discuss speculation.

The only sports facts are the score and stat sheets after games. The rest of sports journalism and topics is "what if" something were different.

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Man, if Trufant [ and Alford] get a pass rush, they'll both be stars. Doubt Tru will get many INTs because QBs will just stop throwing his direction. Alford will clean up though, maybe Allen too.

May actually be excited rather than worried when the falcon D takes the field this year.

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I think so. He has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in this league. His brother sure was.

It's kind d of exciting to think about. He has all the natural talent in the world. They took Sherman, who was rough around the edges and made him the best out there. That just excites the heck out of me thinking what they can do with someone who started out more refined. Give this guy a legit pass rush and it's freakin on man.

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Bradley and Shultz have a well known history of taking cheap shots at Blank and trying to portray him as a bumbling, meddling, idiot owner most recently with our coaching search.

Thus, by first pointing out the best CBs in the NFL, then pointing out Grimes was a former Falcon, THEN pointing out we could have drafted Davis over the 'retired' Jerry, Bradley is CLEARLY taking a cheap shot. Why didnt he mentioned we could have drafted some bust at our then current draft position rather than trading up for Trufant?

To be fair those where the corners that Trufant mentioned. Bottom line is that out of all of the top corners in this league Tru is easily the youngest. With plenty of upside left.
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It's kind d of exciting to think about. He has all the natural talent in the world. They took Sherman, who was rough around the edges and made him the best out there. That just excites the heck out of me thinking what they can do with someone who started out more refined. Give this guy a legit pass rush and it's freakin on man.

Remember, Sherman was a WR his first three years in college. The last two, he only put up marginal numbers and was VERY raw when he came in the NFL. He had crazy athleticism, but slow 40's at the combine and pro-day.

Trufant was already a shut down corner and was seen as the #3 corner coming out of college, even though he ran a 4.28 at his fastest and several shut down performances in college.

Sherman is taller than Trufant, but Trufant more than makes up for that height with his speed and agility. I think Trufant proves to be the better of the two in this system. Alford has the opportunity to get the most INT's though.

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