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CB Desmond Trufant being challenged to work on ball hawking skills

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The Falcons want their star corner to get more involved in making plays on the ball.

Divisional Round - Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Star Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant has been the team’s premiere secondary player for the better part of a half-decade, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still improve.

D. Orlando Ledbetter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution dropped an interesting nugget in his weekly Cover 9@9 column about what the team wants Trufant to improve on this offseason.

The Falcons have asked cornerback Desmond Trufant to make more plays on the ball. But the offseason rules don’t allow for contact so that’ll have to see that part later.

“Could you know what you work on so hard that you could teach it,” Quinn said. “He’s really fit, looking strong and ready.”

Trufant has 60 pass breakups, but only nine interceptions over 72 regular-season games. The Falcons want to turn some of those breakups into interceptions.

The big knock on Trufant’s game has always been his lack of interceptions, and though his hands have gotten incrementally better as time has gone on, it’s a fair request for the team to make. He gets lots of chances for picks when teams throw his way (which isn’t often), but it wouldn’t hurt to have him pull more of those down. You, quite literally, can never have enough interceptions.

Trufant spent 2017 shaking off the rust after his season-ending injury the November before, and while he was never nearly as bad as anyone said he was, he did have perhaps the most unpolished year of his career. He was still good, though, and figures to bounce back in a big way in 2018. Teams are still going to be afraid to throw to him in any and all situations, but upping his ball hawking abilities will only make him that much scarier.

His running buddy Robert Alford has ascended into quite the fine player himself, and adding in rookie Isaiah Oliver and seeing the continued growth of Brian Poole and Damontae Kazee (not to mention solid reserves Justin Bethel and Blidi Wreh-Wilson) gives the team its best group at corner in eons. If Trufant can get back to his pre-injury form, and everyone else continues to make leaps and bounds, this could content to be the best cornerback group in the NFL before it’s all said and done.

But, first comes the work. We’ll see if Trufant can grow into more of a turnover machine this season.