NFL teams make a distinction between No. 1 cornerbacks, the proverbial-but-rare shutdown guys, and No. 2’s. Asked if Trufant can become a No. 1, Dimitroff said: “No question about it. He has legitimate No. 1 ability.”
For a team holding the draft’s 30th pick when the night began, that’s a major haul. Defense in the contemporary NFL is less about stopping someone cold — nobody does that anymore — and more about taking the ball away. Said Smith, the head coach, speaking of Trufant: “He’s a guy that seems to find the football.”
The incumbent Samuel is another such guy, and if Trufant becomes an immediate starter — Smith and Dimitroff indicated he’ll be given every chance — the Falcons would have a matched pair at the most sensitive spots in every defense. With Thomas DeCoud and William Moore, the safeties are pretty set. Could this become the best secondary in Falcons history? Yes, it could.
“He’s got athletic ability and ball skills and the drive to improve,” Dimitroff said of Trufant, but the GM might well have been speaking of the Falcons as a franchise. They’ve got the smarts and the skills and the drive, and they’re relentless in their efforts to get swifter, stronger, better. No, they haven’t won it all yet, but they’re getting closer and closer.
They needed to improve on defense, and they have. (And the draft has two days still to run.) They needed to sustain the momentum that has driven this team from lowly loser to consistent winner, and they did. They needed a big-time cornerback, and they just found one. They needed to make another draft move, and they did it with what has become their customary panache. At such a time we old-school guys ask: “Are these really the Falcons?”
It used to be that every draft offered another opportunity for the Falcons to trip over themselves. This administration doesn’t trip, doesn’t fall. These Falcons keep pushing. These Falcons are a joy to behold.