Falcons believe Sheffield can be the No. 1 cornerback

Falcons cornerback Kendall Sheffield stretches out to block a soccer ball while running an agility drill during the third practice of training camp Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Flowery Branch.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Falcons coach Dan Quinn believes that Kendall Sheffield could develop into the team’s No. 1 cornerback.

Sheffield, who was taken in the fourth round of the draft last year out of Ohio State, played nickel back in 2019. The Falcons have a vacancy after cutting top cornerback Desmond Trufant, who went on to sign with Detroit in free agency.

“Yes, I do feel that way,” Quinn said when asked Monday if Sheffield could be the No. 1 cornerback. “We played him a lot in the slot. That wasn’t something that he had tons of experience with. He keep growing and was really up for the challenge.”

Sheffield played in all 16 games and made 11 starts. He finished the season with 46 tackles, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Sheffield played 708 defensive snaps (67%) and 142 snaps on special teams (23.8%).

The Falcons have heavily scouted cornerbacks for the draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday, and reportedly are considering trading up to land C.J. Henderson of Florida.

“In our league and division there are certainly some guys that you want to match up on if you need to,” Quinn said. “He’s definitely somebody with the speed and short-space quickness to do that. I definitely think he has a shot to do that, based on his speed and that I just think he’s going to continue to grow. Yeah, we’re very excited about him.”

SHEFFIELD 2019 DRAFT BIO

Fourth round (111th overall) Kendall Sheffield, CB, Ohio State

Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 193 pounds 40-yard dash: 4.26 seconds, according to Sheffield in phone interview. Bench: Injured his left pectoral muscle on his seventh lift at the combine. Said surgery would not be required. Vertical: not available 10-yard split: not available 20-yard: not available 3-Cone Drill: not available Broad Jump: not available Overview: He signed with Alabama coming out of high school and went to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, before landing at Ohio State. He has rare speed. He left Alabama after spending his first season as a redshirt. In 2016, he played cornerback and returned kicks at Blinn. He scored touchdowns on both punt and kickoff returns. He made 40 tackles and finished with nine passes defensed in his first season with the Buckeyes, second on the team only to 2018 No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward, a rookie Pro Bowler for the Cleveland Browns. Teams were a bit more hesitant to challenge Sheffield in 2018, and his tackle (35) and pass breakups (six) dropped despite his starting all 14 games. He was projected to be selected in the third round of the draft. He is from Missouri City, Texas.

AJC’s 2020 POSITION BY POSITION DRAFT SERIES

Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow leads classTop 10
Running backs: Cam Akers' life lessonTop 10
Tight ends:  Harrison Bryant top prospect Top 10 
Guards/Centers:  Solomon Kindley a late-rounderTop 10 
Offensive tackles:  Austin Jackson's life lesson | Top 10 
Wide receivers: Jeudy or Lamb  | Top 10
Defensive tackles: Brown, Kinlaw stand outTop 10
Defensive ends: A 'generational' talentTop 10
Linebackers: Simmons a position-less LBTop 10
Safeties: Loaded with Georgia talent | Top 10
Special teams:  Blankenship top kicker | Top 10 

UVA's Joe Reed top returner 

Cornerbacks:  Jeff Okudah a lockdown CB | Top 10

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