060716 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant works on defensive drills with secondary coach Marquand Manuel during an OTA day on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Flowery Branch. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton

Is there a sleeper in the cornerback group?

With the start of mandatory minicamp at 11 a.m. today, the Falcons have an opportunity at cornerback.

In addition to filling the right cornerback spot during Jalen Collins’ four-game suspension, they must find some depth at nickel and outside.

The most intriguing prospect in the cornerback group is C.J. Goodwin, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound converted wide receiver and former college basketball player.

“He’s competing,” secondary/senior assistant Marquand Manuel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s doing an awesome job competing. He’s a natural attack-the-ball defender because of basketball. He played basketball.”

Goodwin, of Wheeling, W.Va., played basketball at Bethany College for two seasons. He went on to play football at Fairmont State and California (Pa.) before he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I compare him a lot to the corner from Miami of Ohio that Green Bay drafted (Quinten Rollins),” Manuel said. “He’s a former basketball player who can come out here and actually play football. His ability to play with Julio (Jones), play man-to-man was awesome. I’m really proud of that kid because he did all of the necessary things this offseason to get himself prepared to just come in here and compete.

“I’m really excited to see what he ends up being. I’m encouraged.”

Here’s a look some of the other cornerbacks on the roster a list of the group:

  • Weber State’s Devonta Johnson, 6-1, 185 pounds, played in 21 career games for the Wildcats and had 14 pass breakups and 76 career tackles.
  • Texas State’s David Mims II, 5-11, 198 pounds, played in 12 games last season and was fourth on the team with 57 tackles for the Bobcats.
  • St. Cloud State’s Jordan Sefon, 6-0, 198 pounds, finished his career with the Huskies posting 217 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 30 pass deflections, and six interceptions.

CORNERBACKS

23 Alford, Robert CB 5-10 186 11/1/88 4 Southeastern Louisiana D2 ‘13 Hammond, LA

32 Collins, Jalen CB 6-1 203 3/20/93 2 LSU D2 ‘15 Olive Branch, MS

29 Goodwin, C.J. CB 6-4 220 2/4/90 1 California (PA) FA ‘15 Wheeling, WV

33d Johnson, Devonte CB 5-10 180 1/3/93 R Weber State CFA ‘16 Denver, CO

25 King, Akeem CB 6-1 212 10/29/92 2 San Jose State D7b ‘15 Nipomo, CA

38d Mims II, David CB 5-10 184 8/6/93 R Texas State CFA ‘16 Daingerfield, TX

39d Sefon, Jordan CB 5-11 192 7/25/93 R St. Cloud State CFA ‘16 Richfield, MN

21 Trufant, Desmond CB 6-0 190 9/10/90 4 Washington D1 ‘13 Tacoma, WA

43 Van Dyke, DeMarcus CB 6-1 185 1/17/89 4 Miami (Fla.) FA ‘16 Miami, FL

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