Desmond Trufant to Reach new Heights Under Dan Quinn
Ask any Falcons fan about Desmond Trufant, and they’ll sing his praises. Without a doubt, the cornerback out of the University of Washington is the best defensive player on the team, and one of the best players at his position; he’s more than lived up to the billing of the number 23 overall pick already, but hasn’t yet realized his true potential. That’s where Dan Quinn comes in: the former superbowl winning defensive coordinator turned head coach will be the man who guides Trufant to his very high ceiling.
Coach Quinn has already reached out to Trufant, among others. “I’ve talked to him,” said Trufant. “He can’t wait to start working with us. I’m looking forward to it and I’m ready to start getting this turned around.” Desmond will no doubt be one of the key pieces in a possible bounce-back for the franchise.
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Trufant finished as the sixth best corner in Pro Football Focus’ ratings. He also played the fourth most snaps out of any corner in the league (more snaps than every player rated above him). The five corners who had a rating higher than Trufant’s were Kansas City’ Sean Smith, New England’s Darrelle Revis, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Indianapolis’ Vontae Davis, and Denver’s Christ Harris Jr. in that order. Every one of those players, with the exception of Davis had a pass rush that at least generated a positive grade by PFF; and then Vontae Davis at least had a good supporting cast of players in the secondary around him.
The Falcons, meanwhile, had neither a good pass rush nor any good support around Trufant. Atlanta finished with a grade of -15.7 on pass rush, which is good for fourth worst in the NFL. Davis’ Colts were even worse with a grade of -23.2 in that category, which is third worst. However, the Colts finished fifth with a pass coverage rating of +22.7, while the Falcons had a -57.7 grade in that same category, which is also fourth worst.
Vontae Davis had good players in the secondary to compliment him: Mike C. Adams, Sergio Brown, and LaRon Landry, all of whom had positive grades. Adams was, in fact, the seventh highest rated safety in the league with a +11.7 rating. Meanwhile, the Falcons had only four defensive players total with a positive grade, two of whom (Jonathan Massaquoi and Osi Umenyora) played less than 400 snaps, and none of which had a grade higher than +2.7, while Trufant’s grade was +13.5.
What Dan Quinn will do is focus on revitalizing this atrocious, 32nd ranked, defense. Getting a pass rusher or two, having William Moore and Alford back healthy, and then plugging up some holes in the secondary and front seven will put Desmond Trufant in a position to succeed. It’s astonishing what this two year pro has been able to do against quarterbacks who had all the time in the world in the pocket. Give him some true help, and Trufant could end up becoming the best corner in the NFL.
Dan Quinn knows how to coach up a defense, and when given the right pieces to work with, he’s proven to be a superbowl caliber coach. Desmond Trufant will be the one to build the defense around. Just two years in, and we’ve already seen how high Trufant’s ceiling really is: it’ll be Quinn’s job to get him up there.