There are statements of belief that are rooted in deep conviction, and there are statements of belief that are hedges, a way to prop up a player you might need to rely on if things don’t go according to plan during the offseason. We don’t know which one of those applies to Dan Quinn praising Kendall Sheffield today, but for practical purposes, we may not need to know.
In remarks on Monday, Quinn made it clear that the corner the team traded up for last year is a player they have big plans for. Potentially really big plans.
Dan Quinn does feel Kendall Sheffield can be a No. 1 corner.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) April 20, 2020
In theory, this is just a nice bit of praise for a clearly talented, athletic player, given that the team is rumored to have strong interest in the class’s top cornerbacks. In practice, if the Falcons strike out on cornerback in the first round and can’t get an immediate starter later on, Sheffield may be pressed into that role in 2020. It wouldn’t be an ideal outcome for Atlanta—Sheffield showed real promise last season but didn’t look ready to dominate by any stretch of the imagination—but clearly it’s something that DQ and the team have been turning over as a contingency.
Ignoring that big statement, it’s clear that Sheffield is going to have a huge role this season regardless. Desmond Trufant is gone, Isaiah Oliver is looking to make a third year leap and hopefully will do so, but even a top draft pick isn’t going to bump Sheffield out of the team’s top three, and they use three corners all the time. He’ll have to take on tough assignments in 2020 no matter where he plays.
For now, like so many other things being said, it’s just an interesting note and a statement that makes it clear how much faith Atlanta has in their second-year player. After the draft, we’ll see if it winds up meaning much more than that.