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Grantland: Trufant is the league's "Up-and-Comer" cornerback

Mentioned alongside Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman, Atlanta's top defender is expected to take yet another step forward.

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For two years straight, Desmond Trufant has been the lone bright spot on a defense built primarily on crushed dreams and Kroy Biermann covering wide receivers. While fans have been impressed with Trufant's play since his rookie season, NFL analysts have recently and emphatically praised the cornerback.

Grantland's Robert Mays ranked the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and declared Trufant as the league's "Up-and-Comer" cornerback. The article rightfully calls the team's pass rush "an abomination" (doesn't Mays know that sacks don't matter?), but came away impressed how well Trufant plays with bad safety support and the league's third most time given to opposing quarterbacks.

What already makes the former first-round pick so good is his otherworldly ability to change direction. Atlanta was plagued by spotty safety play a year ago, which meant a lot of off-coverage by its corners on the outside. That would typically open up a tempting amount of space for receivers on quick-stopping routes to the outside, but Trufant routinely snuffs that out because of how inhumanly fast he can break back to the ball. He’s one of the league’s quickest corners (a 3.85 in the 20-yard shuttle at the combine put him in the 98th percentile among tested corners), and he also has a knack for knowing how to sit on a receiver’s ideal route.

In summary, Trufant is pretty good.

The article expects Trufant to become a household name thanks to an improved pass rush and a new defensive scheme. I would suggest that multiple players will improve after being freed from Mike Nolan's scheme, but Trufant looks poised to help turnaround Atlanta's defense.