Atlanta Falcons: What happened to Desmond Trufant?
The Atlanta Falcons drafted Desmond Trufant in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft out of Washington hoping he would be the shutdown corner the team desperately needed.
Initially, the Atlanta Falcons had found their guy. Prior to his injury during the 2016 season, he was among the five best corners in the National Football League. Post-injury, he has been a shell of himself leaving fans to wonder what happened.
The Atlanta Falcons resigned Trufant to a five year, $68.5 million dollar contract back in 2017 essentially paying Trufant like a top 10 cornerback. Let’s just say that’s no longer the case.
The final 12 games of 2018, it looked like Trufant was regaining his form as he was the best tackling corner in the NFL and did a great job of locking down some of the best receivers in the NFC South.
Sure, in 2019 he had a career-best four interceptions, but he also caught one sitting on the ground. He didn’t play like a shutdown corner at all during the nine games he saw action in.
Trufant is paid more than the likes of Stephon Gilmore who happens to be the NFL defensive player of the year and Malcolm Butler, both of which Falcons fans would rather have on the team right now instead of Trufant.
You can blame the coaching or the fact that he hasn’t been as healthy as many would like but at the end of the day, Trufant is literally stealing money from the Falcons.
Yes, to an extent, Trufant played improved in 2019 compared to 2018 but when you hit rock bottom, you can’t go nowhere but up. 2018 was Truant’s last season in which he played a full 16 games and in those 16 games, he didn’t grab a single interception. That’s not because Trufant was so good teams were throwing the other way, he simply wasn’t going his job.
The Falcons played Trufant number one cornerback money just for him to play like a number two or at times a number three cornerback.
Are we going to blame the lack of a pass rush for all the problems the Falcons had on defense? As the number one cornerback, you’re supposed to be the cream of the crop at your position on the team. You can’t solely depend on a pass rush in order for your “best” cornerback to perform. Deion Sanders didn’t need a pass rush, Champ Bailey didn’t need a pass rush, Stephon Gilmore doesn’t need one either.
The Falcons thought they had something in Trufant and it turns out that wasn’t the case. No big deal because it happens, but his contract has the team in a sticky situation to the point where they might not have the money to sign b ck someone they need like Austin Hooper.
The Falcons either need to restructure his contract if they really want him on the team or cut/trade him. At the end of the day, Trufant just wasn’t the player the Falcons thought he was.