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Robert Alford in the mix to start at cornerback, safety move not completely ruled out

Dan Quinn spoke to Vaughn McClure about the third-year cornerback, who is coming into a crucial season.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Alford has always had the tools to succeed in the NFL. If all goes well, he'll put those tools to good use as a cornerback under Dan Quinn

Quinn spoke to Vaughn McClure at ESPN about Alford, who has been a popular topic of discussion for Falcons fans hoping he might be in the mix at safety. Quinn left the door open a crack for that possibility, but told McClure that Alford has been shining at cornerback and no move is imminent.

This is sensible. The Falcons have determined that Charles Godfrey, Kemal Ishmael and Ricardo Allen will compete for snaps at free safety, and so long as all three don't faceplant, they can keep Alford where he appears ready to thrive. The team's going to need three competent cornerbacks regardless, and with Jalen Collins still recovering from injury, having Desmond Trufant and Alford locking down two spots will get the Falcons two-thirds of the way there.

The question, of course, is whether Alford will thrive once he hits the field, and whether he'll remain outside when Collins becomes healthy and Dezmen Southward gets up to speed. He can be a tremendous asset as a dangerous, aggressive athlete no matter where he lines up, but he will have to play more disciplined football to really make the leap. You'd be a fool to bet against his talent shining through in a scheme that we all hope will reward players who bring athleticism and fire to the table, however, and don't assume Alford's height is going to keep him from thriving in this system.

What are your 2015 expectations for Alford?