All season long, Desmond Trufant has steadily shown us why the Falcons elected to trade up and draft him in the first round.
It hasn't always been pretty. Indeed, even during Trufant's impressive game against Washington on Sunday (seven tackles, three pass deflections and an interception) he got burned deep by Pierre Garcon on a couple of occasions. Zeke Motta, it shouldn't be noted, wasn't exactly giving the best safety help.
But Trufant rebounded, coming up with a critical fourth-quarter interception and knocking Kirk Cousins' two-point conversion pass to the ground at the end of the game. The performance was even good enough to garner a nomination for NFL Rookie of the Week. You can vote for Trufant here, if you feel so inclined.
All in all, it was a solid day for a guy who has quietly put together a commendable first season with the Falcons. In addition to his 65 tackles and two interceptions, Trufant can also take credit for 16 pass deflections, which tie for the eighth-most among all active defenders.
Naturally, some have thrown Trufant's name out there as a dark-horse candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Personally, with guys like Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei having exceptional rookie seasons, I'd be shocked if Trufant won that award or even came close. Plus, after those two, you have Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso and Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu.
In truth, the odds of winning Defensive RoY as a defensive back these days are so slim because of the nature of the position. The rules have you at an inherent disadvantage, and more often than not the negative plays are the ones that stand out to the voters - even when in many cases a blown play will hinge on safety help or the pass rush.
So credit Trufant for being able to excel with a combination of Thomas DeCoud and Zeke Motta at free safety and this team's long-absent front-line pressure. Next year, hopefully, he can really shine.