Desmond Trufant was a man under fire from the moment he was drafted. Several fans and Atlanta-based draft gurus hated the pick, or at least hated that the Falcons gave up a third round pick to trade up and grab Marcus's brother. Many wanted a lineman or linebacker there, still others thought the Falcons should have gone for Xavier Rhodes, Jamar Taylor or even David Amerson and still others just didn't think Trufant would be any good.
Things intensified a bit during preseason, when Trufant looked a bit lost as he adjusted to the speed of the NFL game. I got in many, many arguments over whether Robert Alford should start over Trufant, something many seemed to think was obvious despite Alford's steeper learning curve. My argument was that Alford, while gifted and blessed with a bright future in the NFL, was not ready. Trufant was.
This was a vaguely controversial position at the time, remember. There are many who firmly believed the Trufant selection was a mistake, and he didn't look great in preseason. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to note that it was because I felt like he was the best option by default.
As hard as it is to believe, Trufant is second among all defenders in Pro Football Focus's grading, behind only William Moore. With the exception of the Patriots game, he's been good-to-excellent in coverage, solid enough as a tackler, decent against the run and playing disciplined football. For a rookie cornerback, his play has been borderline unbelievable, and he's certainly making the front office look smart in a year where not many others have. He's done all this despite not having the safety net of an excellent pass rush in front of him.
Despite all of that, there are still people who firmly believe that Trufant sucks. I'm going to be charitable here and say that these people are blinded by bias, but you never know:
@rockorocky rocky please take over Desmond Trufant position he is the worst in the NFL— kevin ryu (@ryukev717) October 8, 2013
We need to start Robert Alford over Desmond Trufant real talk— #JL5 (@Lvcas_Era) October 8, 2013
We're only five weeks in, so I suppose there's time for this to go off the rails and for the doubters to get their day in the sun. It seems unlikely, though. Trufant is the easy favorite for the team's rookie of the year, and he looks like a fixture in this secondary for years to come. He's got a lot of work ahead before he gets to elite—and he's had his struggles in the red zone against the Patriots and Dolphins, to name two—but certainly he's been a pleasant surprise in 2013.
Your take on Trufant?