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Josh Norman: Desmond Trufant a top CB; better than Patrick Peterson


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Josh Norman: Desmond Trufant a top CB; better than Patrick Peterson

Vaughn McClure

Desmond Trufant probably doesn't get the respect he deserves when it comes to discussions about the NFL's top cornerbacks.

At least one of the league's best corners recognizes how talented the Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowler truly is.

Josh Norman, who left the Falcons' NFC South rival, Carolina, to join the Washington Redskins, didn't hesitate to mention Trufant among the elite.

"Oh man, Trufant is a great cornerback," Norman told ESPN.com. "He's a young guy coming up. I think he will be one of the top guys in the league here real soon, if he's not already. They don't put as much emphasis on his game.

"When they talk about (top) corners, they talk about four guys: myself, Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, and Pat (Peterson). He's better than Pat P, if you asked me, shoot. But yeah, (Trufant's) definitely in that conversation. He made the Pro Bowl, so why not? When that day comes, he's going to be one of the top guys in the league for a very long time."

Trufant appreciated Norman's words.

"It's all about respect," Trufant said. "That's what you play the game for -- your peers respecting you. That's what it's really about. And he's obviously a great player. He had a **** of a year last year. He's a cool guy, so much respect to him as well."

We'll see if Trufant soon gets the financial respect both Norman and Peterson received with five-year, $75 million and five-year, $70 million deals, respectively. The Falcons are likely to reward their former 22nd overall pick after already exercising Trufant's $8.026 million, fifth-year option in 2017.

Last year, Trufant was barely tested, being targeted a league-low 56 times and allowing just 32 receptions, which was third best among cornerbacks. This year, he might get more opportunities to shadow receivers such as Tampa Bay's Mike Evans with the possibility of more man coverage sprinkled into the Falcons' Cover 3 scheme.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn says Trufant's game continues to ascend.

"There wasn't a lot of targets that went Tru's way, and in certain games that's just how it went," Quinn said. "When you play outside, you have to be ready every time: 'This is the play they're going to try me. This is the play they're going to try me.' And he has that attitude where he can go and make a play.

"He's worked really hard on his ball skills. I've seen it over the last two weeks, maybe even three weeks. The amount of interceptions that he's going for in practice, he's really tracking the ball well. So, that's a great sign for him."

Trufant enters Sunday's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with six career interceptions through three NFL seasons.

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