The Atlanta Falcons have a strong cornerback duo of Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, but behind them the group is somewhat thin. Training camp will answer a number of questions.
To this point, Jalen Collins’ career with the Falcons has been a disappointment. An average rookie season followed up with a four-game suspension puts him behind the eight ball entering his second year. To say this is an important training camp would be an understatement.
The Falcons are planning to move Robert Alford to nickelback but keep him outside in the base defense. For him to shift inside, a replacement on the boundary needs to step up.
Maybe it will eventually be Collins. The former second-round pick clearly has talent, he just needs to step up and show development at camp. The four-game suspension won’t help his momentum, but having him back for the Week 5 game in Seattle is fine, so long as he plays better.
Akeem King would be the next logical choice, but he is very much a project at this stage of his career. The former seventh-round pick has a bright future, but how quickly can he accelerate his development? That might ultimately determine how good the Falcons’ depth at cornerback is this season.
Without Collins, the Falcons can ill afford to lose one of their starters to injury early in the season. King might find he’s thrown in at the deep end.
Other names to watch are Devonte Johnson, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Jordan Sefon. Of the three, Van Dyke feels the most likely to land a backup role at camp.
It was somewhat surprising the Falcons didn’t add a veteran corner in free agency, particularly in light of Collins’ suspension, but it’s a move Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff might still decide to make.
Entering training camp, the Falcons appear to have a ton of talent in the starting positions but not a great deal of depth behind them. Training camp will provide an opportunity for the younger corners on the roster to make an impact.
The Falcons might need to count on them.