Due to the poor performances of the Atlanta Falcons over the past couple of seasons, some players’ good contributions have slipped under the radar. Fortunately, Elliot Harrison of NFL.com didn’t miss them and has selected two Falcons in his NFL All-Underrated Team, which you can find here.
The two players selected are cornerback Desmond Trufant and punter Matt Bosher. Trufant was a rare bright spot in the defensive backfield, while Bosher was a solid all season long.
Sep 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Chris Givens (13) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant (21) during the second half at Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Rams 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Seeing Trufant’s name on the list is hardly surprising. Due to the Falcons’ pass defense ranking 32nd last year, it’s easy for #21’s strong play go unnoticed outside of Atlanta. Here’s what Harrison had to say about this selection:
"“I’m happy to have found a place for Trufant — who didn’t make our All-Under-25 team from March because he will turn 25 on opening night this season — right here. Given the intermittent (at best) support the Falcons’ pass rush provided its corners, Trufant’s standout 2014 was all the more special. He picked off more passes than touchdowns allowed.”"
He hits the nail on the head. Atlanta’s secondary was given no help by the pass rush, and there’s only so long you can keep a receiver covered in the NFL.
Despite the lack of rush from the front seven, Trufant made more interceptions (3) than he allowed touchdowns (2). Quarterbacks who throw into his coverage completed 58.7 percent of passes and earned a 74.0 passer rating, per Pro Football Focus. His plus-13.5 grade of PFF was good for sixth among cornerbacks.
Now imagine how good he can be if the Falcons’ can generate pressure on the quarterback. Trufant hopefully won’t make this list next year because everyone will know just how good he is.
Nov 3, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher (5) punts the ball in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
It’s nice to see Matt Bosher get some love, and he deserves it. Punters don’t get much attention, but Bosher has been a reliable contributor for Atlanta. Here’s what Harrison had to say:
"“You know a guy is unheralded when he is an underrated punter; punters are anonymous already. While Atlanta’s defense struggled in 2014, Bosher did his part to help out. Last year, he induced more fair catches (28) than returns (26), and he finished at No. 6 in average net yards in both 2013 and 2014.”"
Bosher’s plus-26.5 PFF rating places him fourth among punters, and he is near the top of the list for just about every category.
His maximum hang time of 5.54 seconds is tied for fourth; the 28 fair catches called on his punts was third-most; his 40.7 net yards was seventh-best.
Again, hopefully we won’t see Bosher on this list next year because he won’t have to punt too often, or we can just hope he finally gets some recognition.
What do you think of the list? Be sure to check out Harrison’s full team and give us your thoughts. Should any more Falcons have made the team?