072613 FLOWERY BRANCH: -- Falcons top draft picks rookie cornerbacks Desmond Trufant (left) and Robert Alford loosen up for the start of the second day of team practice at training camp on Friday, July 26, 2013, in Flowery Branch. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
FLOWERY BRANCH -- The expectation is that rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round draft pick, will start opposite Asante Samuel at cornerback. But Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said it’s possible that second-round pick Robert Alford could win the spot.
“Oh, yeah, no question,” Nolan said. “The two young corners are providing a lot of competition there.”
Nolan said Trufant is “doing a very good job for a rookie.” He said he believes Trufant has adjusted quickly to the NFL because he can draw on the experiences of two older brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, who play in the league.
“He’s picking up things well,” Nolan said. “He’s an intelligent player; we knew that when we drafted him. Physically he’s gifted, as well.”
After breaking up a pass over the middle intended for Harry Douglas on Thursday, Trufant popped up from the ground and started yelling, "Keep hating! Keep hating!"
The reality for the Falcons is that both Trufant and Alford will have to play key roles because there are no other options.
“We are going to need them to play and play a lot,” secondary coach Tim Lewis said. “It’s no secret. Everybody in the league knows that we lost three (cornerbacks) to free agency. We acquired four (defensive backs) in the draft. So we’ll be relying on those guys to get up to speed early, and they’ll hopefully contribute a great deal to our success.”
The other two draft picks Lewis referred to are safeties Kemal Ishmael and Zeke Motta. Both were selected in the seventh round.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Friday, August 2 “Friday Night Lights” at Bobby Gruhn Field (City Park Stadium in Gainesville. 6:45 – 9:10 p.m. (open to the public)
Saturday, August 3 Players’ Day Off (No Media Availability)
Sunday, August 4 Practice 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 5 Combined Practice w/ Cincinnati Bengals 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. (open to the public)
Tuesday, August 6 Combined Practice w/ Cincinnati Bengals 3:00 – 5:20 p.m. (open to the public)
Wednesday, August 7 Pregame Walkthrough (No Media Availability)
Thursday, August 8 Falcons vs. Cincinnati Bengals , Georgia Dome, 8:00 p.m. – ESPN (National Broadcast)
Friday, August 9 Players’ Day Off
Saturday, August 10 Practice 3:30 – 6:05 p.m. (open to the public)
Sunday, August 11 Practice 3:30 – 6:05 p.m. (open to the public)
Monday, August 12 Practice 3:30 – 6:05 p.m. (closed to the public)
Tuesday, August 13 Practice 3:30 – 5:50 p.m. (closed to the public)
Wednesday, August 14 Pregame Walkthrough – No Media Availability
Thursday, August 15 Falcons at Baltimore Ravens, Georgia Dome, 7:30 p.m. – CBS Atlanta (WGCL-TV)
Friday, August 16 Players’ Day Off
Saturday, August 17 Practice 3:30 – 6:05 p.m. (closed to the public)
Considering the long odds that rookie Ryan Schraeder beat just to make it to training camp with the Falcons, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the never-ending shuffle of the team’s offensive line has moved him into a more prominent role.