Nov 9, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) and cornerback Robert Alford (23) talk against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Atlanta Falcons defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In the National Football League, you best have good corners and plenty of ‘em. Last year, the Falcons’ secondary struggled, largely in part to lack of pass rush causing them to maintain their coverages for too long.
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What the Falcons have is one of the hottest young corners in Desmond Trufant. He may already be a top-5 player at his position in the NFL, and if not, he’s well on his way.
What’s exciting for Atlanta right now is the competition for the other spot outside. Robert Alford could be the man, and he is looking to prove himself after a 2014 season cut short by a wrist injury.
Whether Alford remains outside or shifts into a nickel role is yet to be seen, but the latter might be a good long-term move. Alford has the speed to cover in the slot, and the opening outside could be taken by second round draft pick Jalen Collins.
I wouldn’t expect such a move to happen right away, as Collins has been sidelined with a foot injury. While they are likely just being cautious, he has missed valuable practice time already. There’s still plenty of time for him to make an impact, but my expectation is to see Alford start 2015 outside.
It’s also important to keep expectations in check for rookie corners. This guy has a lot of talent and upside, but we shouldn’t expect too much of him just yet.
The cornerback position was further strengthened with the move of Dezmen Southward from free safety. Quinn has made a point of transitioning him to the position, but we will have to wait to see what he can do due to the minor knee surgery he underwent recently.
Overall, this unit is looking much healthier in 2015, and should be one of the Falcons’ strengths. With a bolstered pass rush, life is only going to get easier for the defensive backfield.
Next: No. 2