Robert Alford is a lot of things. He's an elite athlete, and possibly the fastest player on the team. He's someone who was undervalued coming out of college, a product of his college pedigree. He's possibly the defensive player best situated to help the Falcons win going forward.
"But he doesn't compare to Desmond Trufant, James. Stop this tomfoolery!" Look, let me get this out of the way: it's not about Trufant, because he's a known commodity, and we're lucky that's true. Trufant has kicked butt and taken names since he was drafted, in spite of lukewarm expectations. That said, it's one thing to have one lock down corner, it's something else entirely to have two.
Alford had a 4.3 overall rating against the Buccaneers, limiting Vincent Jackson to one very undeserved, offensive pass interference-fueled touchdown reception. He gave up only one other reception, and had two passes defended. Granted, he was defending against Luke McCown and later Mike Glennon. He will face much steeper competition going forward, and that's when the Falcons will really need him.
Through 3 games, Alford's overall rating is 3.7. That's the third best in the league, and better than Trufant's 3.1 rating. Admittedly the numbers are a little screwy as I write this because all but 2 teams haven't finished their week 3 games. Much of Alford's rating is fueled by Thursday's performance. He had a negative rating against the Bengals and a 0.9 rating against the Saints. Trufant has had positive ratings in all three games (2.0 against the Saints, 0.9 against the Bengals, and 0.2 against the Buccaneers).
In short, Alford needs to keep this up. If he does, the Falcons will have two of the league's best young corners. As they develop, the defense will only improve. Heck, if there's any non-personnel way to improve the pass rush, it's solid play from Trufant and Alford. Going forward, it could make a world of difference.