Falcons trade to land cornerback Trufant

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff targeted a player and made a trade to land him in the NFL draft Thursday night.

It wasn’t the mega-deal, but the Falcons moved up eight spots from 30th to 22nd in a deal with the St. Louis Rams to select Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant.

“It’s who we had focused on all throughout the offseason,” Dimitroff said. “We were very fortunate because it was a very eventful middle of the first round. It was very, very active with a lot of trade discussions.”

The Falcons knew they had to get in front of Minnesota to select Trufant. The Vikings had the 23rd and 25th picks. They ended up selecting Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said that Trufant, who was a team captain for the Huskies, will compete for a starting position.

“I’m very excited about the pick,” Smith said.

They gave up a third- and a sixth-round pick and will get a seventh-rounder next season from the Rams.

The Falcons had a need a cornerback. Three of the top five cornerbacks from last season are no longer with the team. Brent Grimes (Miami) and Christopher Owens (Cleveland) left during free agency. Dunta Robinson was released and has signed with Kansas City.

Trufant, who’s 6-foot, 190 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL scouting combine.

He will become the third Trufant to make it to the NFL. His brothers Marcus (Seattle) and Isaiah (Jets) are already in the NFL.

“They told me that it’s time to grind and try to make a name for myself.,” Trufant said.

The youngest Trufant is a big corner.

“I don’t know the last time when there’s been three brothers in the NFL,” Trufant said during his interview at the combine. “It’s definitely a milestone. It’s big for our family, and our city. And so I’m just going to (keep) it going.”

Marcus Trufant played at Washington State and was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2003 draft. He made Sporting News’ Pro Bowl team in 2007.

Isaiah Trufant played at Eastern Washington and made the Jets’ roster after spending time in the Arena Football League and the United Football League.

The Trufants all play cornerback and are from Tacoma, Wash.

Desmond wants to eventually make a name for himself.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life,” he said. “All the workouts, all of the season work, all the games — everything is coming down to this moment. I’m very excited.”

Trufant draws some inspiration from Isaiah’s climb up the rough side of the football mountain into the NFL.

“I think my brother Isaiah, he definitely took the long road,” Trufant said. “He’s a very resilient person. It just shows that you never give up on your dream. People might say that you can’t do this or you can’t do that, or you’re too short or you’re not big enough. He just kept working.”

Isaiah and Marcus joined Trufant at the Senior Bowl.

We hadn’t been together for a while, so that was cool to just spend some time and talk,” Trufant said. “I love my brothers, love my family. And I’m just going to keep the legacy going.”

He considers his instincts, quick feet and his breaks on the ball to be strengths.

At Washington, he played in 50 games and had six interceptions and 33 pass breakups. He was named to the All-Pac-12 first-team last season.