Many football players have no clue what to expect as they transition from the NCAA to the NFL.
But when he showed up at the Senior Bowl, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant was fully prepped on what to expect. In fact, his two older brothers even traveled to Mobile, Ala., to make sure.
“It was big. Just to have something from close to home that you could grasp onto was very big. We haven’t been together for a while, all together at the same time, so that was cool to just spend some time and talk,” Trufant said. “I love my brothers, love my family, and I’m just going to keep the legacy going.”
His oldest brother, Marcus, was a first-round pick and has played 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. His brother Isaiah spent time in the AFL and UFL but has spent the last two seasons with the New York Jets.
All three are cornerbacks.
Desmond Trufant is projected as a first-round selection, but he’ll be hard-pressed to top his eldest brother, who was the 11th overall pick in 2003 and was a one-time All-Pro selection.
Still, Trufant is plenty talented.
A four-year starter at Washington, he has good size (6 foot, 190 pounds), he runs well (4.4 in the 40-yard dash) and he isn’t afraid to get physical. But Trufant needs to shore up his technique and improve his consistency.
Asked about his strengths, Trufant said, “Instincts, feet, quickness in and out of my breaks and transition.
“A competitive nature.”
Trufant should be able to play zone or man-to-man in the NFL, and he also helps himself because of his ability to play in the slot.
“There’s a lot of quick game, and I feel like I can do good at that,” he said. “And I’m a good blitzer as well and like to get in on tackles.”
Will general manager Phil Emery finally break the annual streak of drafting a safety? The selection of Brandon Hardin in the third round last year made it eight years in a row, and it would be hard to imagine the Bears continuing that trend. Chris Conte and Major Wright are the starters and the team added some veteran depth in free agency. The team is set with starters at cornerback too, but they could use an heir apparent at that important position.
FIVE OF INTEREST
CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State: Rebounded solidly after a major knee injury in 2011, Rhodes is a big and fast cornerback who can play in any scheme.
CB Desmond Trufant, Washington: Didn’t have great statistics last season but that’s largely because opponents shied away from his half of the field.
S Matt Elam, Florida: In his two seasons as a starter, he was a dynamic playmaker with 11 tackles for loss and two interceptions in 2012.
S Eric Reid, LSU: He can be overly aggressive, but Reid does deliver his share of violent, highlight-worthy hits.
CB David Amerson, North Carolina State: Ideal size and speed, but there are concerns that he may not be suited to play man-to-man.
THE THREE BEST
CB Dee Millner, Alabama: First-team All-American, he had 18 pass break ups in 2012, and he ran a blazing 4.31 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: The Longhorns had a rough year, but Vaccaro didn’t, establishing himself as arguably the best safety in the country.
CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State: A tick slower than Millner, but Rhodes is 6-2, and he does a tremendous job of making plays on the ball.
THE THREE SLEEPERS
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut: He’s 6-1 and started plenty of games at Connecticut, but he’s widely considered a zone cornerback.
CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU: Tons of questions about his character, but there’s no denying his playmaking ability, whether as a returner or defensive back.
CB Terry Hawthorne, Illinois: He doesn’t shy away from contact, but his draft stock was hurt because his 2012 wasn’t as strong as his 2011 due, in part, to injuries.
S T.J. McDonald, USC: Highly coveted coming out of high school, he has the prototype size (6-3, 219 pounds) and speed, but he didn’t click in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa Two scheme.