http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/mark-bradley ... rnerbacks/
Posted: 9:16 a.m. Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Falcons like the looks of their new cornerbacks
Is it a stretch to think Alford and Trufant will be really good?
By Mark Bradley
Flowery Branch – If exhibition games mean little and training camp means next to nothing, then minicamp means … well, is there something less than nothing? Nobody should get really excited about any NFL team until said team plays a game that counts. That said …
The Atlanta Falcons think their defense has a chance to be good, which is something this defense hasn’t quite been. (It ranked 24th in the league last season.) They believe Osi Umenyiora, imported as a free agent from the New York Giants, has a lot left to give. They also believe their secondary could develop into something special.
The Falcons drafted cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford with their first two picks in April, and at Tuesday’s opening session of minicamp the two were getting long looks with the first unit. You'd have to think one of them could start against the Saints on Sept. 8, and if the Falcons choose to deploy three cornerbacks as their base defense that day – given the way the Saints play, that’s more a probability than a possibility – they both might crack the first 11.
Thomas Dimitroff, the general manager, didn’t draft these two with an eye toward 2016. Mike Smith, the coach, isn’t opposed to playing rookies. (You’ll recall that Matt Ryan, Sam Baker, Sean Weatherspoon and Julio Jones were all immediate starters.) If Trufant and Alford are as good as the Falcons believe, they won’t spend much time sitting.
Asante Samuel is an incumbent cornerback, and he was terrific last season. Robert McClain played very well in nickel packages. With those two plus the rookies, and with the excellent safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore serving as the back line, this collection of defensive backs is the most talented the Falcons have had since the days of Deion Sanders and Tim McKyer and Brian Jordan.
No, talent doesn’t always pan out. Yes, it’s too soon to know anything. But you should keep your eye on these DBs.
Cornerback Asante Samuel went down with an injury early on, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Samuel went down making a play on the football, and his right ankle was checked on by a trainer. Ledbetter later reported that Samuel was walking fine after practice.
The biggest thing to note at minicamp thus far: cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. They were the team's first- and second-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, and both were getting work with the first team at training camp, as noted by Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It's likely that Trufant will be a starter and Alford will get work in nickel situations; their early progress is promising.http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/6/19/4 ... ns-vikings