Atlanta Falcons: Why 2016 Will Be Desmond Trufant’s Best


In today’s NFL, having a cornerback that can shut down his side of the field is rare. It is even more extraordinary when you can have a rookie corner play at such a high level. Third-year player Desmond Trufant has shown these talents since entering the NFL in 2013 and has yet been recognized league wide for his abilities.

In his rookie season he registered 70 tackles, two interceptions, and 17 passes defended. Not to mention only 53.4 percent of passes were completed his way. Those numbers earned him the eighth highest coverage grade among all cornerbacks. Last season Trufant ranked sixth in Pro Football Focus’ ranking and finished the season with 61 tackles, 16 passes defended, three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Of course he has things he needs to work on such as his catching abilities, but makes up for great coverage abilities and willingness to support the run.

For the past two seasons he has been a part of one of the worst defense in the NFL with a non-existent pass rush and lackadaisical coverage. Atlanta’s defense finished with the grade of -15.7 pass rush and -57.7 grade in pass coverage. As a team in terms of yards allowed, they’ve given up 398.2 yards per game with 279.9 coming from the air. It didn’t help with teammates Robert Alford and William Moore missing most of the season but it did force him to become a vocal leader in the secondary.

This past off-season, the team made an effort to improve Trufant’s supporting cast through free agency and the NFL draft. Through free agency, the Falcons added, DE Adrian Clayborn, OLBs O’Brien Schofield, Justin Durant, and Brooks Reed. In the draft the Falcons picked up OLB Vic Beasley, CB Jalen Collins, and DT Grady Jarrett.To some it may seem to be baby-steps to being a dominant defense, but it’s a lot better assembled team than the previous two years. 

In 2013 Trufant was the understudy to a veteran, Asante Samuel. In 2014 he was star player on a dark, lonely defense. 2015 leaves the question that aches everyone’s mind. How good will he be now?