1. Desmond Trufant
Desmond Trufant has been a very consistent cornerback since coming into the NFL. No one would argue the skills and talent Trufant has, but he’s never been one of the elite corners. And that’s okay, there aren’t many elite corners around the league. However, Trufant has been very solid for the Falcons in his time. Last season, that was not the case for Trufant.
Since coming into the league in 2013, Trufant has recorded at least one interception in every season. Even his injury-shortened 2016. Last season was the exception for Trufant, however. Playing all 16 games last year, Trufant did not record a single INT. Now, that’s not the most important stat. Corners can still be productive despite not having double-digit INTs. What’s troubling is what else was trending the wrong way for Trufant.
In 2017, Trufant gave up 640 yards the entire season, which equals about 40 yards a game. In 2018, Trufant gave up 813 yards, equaling about 50 yards a game. That extra ten yards can make or break a football team in a game, also considering that Trufant is normally covering the other teams best receiver. His touchdown’s allowed also went up to 5 from 3 in 2017.
Even with the decline in some stats, Trufant still put up some decent numbers on the advanced side. He’s still a productive corner for the Falcons. The defense has to work as one unit, which means if Trufant can stay in coverage longer, the pass-rushers will have more time to get to the quarterback. A better pass rush means for opportunities at bad or rushed passes. If this Falcons defense wants to improve from last season, Trufant will have to be a key cog in that machine.