The Atlanta Falcons have selected Washington CB Desmond Trufant with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Pros: Outstanding route-jumper who times his "interventions" well -- this may be his best attribute, and he really showed it off during Senior Bowl week. Shows good timing in close coverages to bait quarterbacks into making the throws to receivers he's covering. Mechanically sound player with a smooth backpedal and efficient hip turn. Can play outside or in the slot/flex in coverage. Played a lot of off coverage in college, but has enough experience playing press to man up against receivers and affect timing off the line. Has the height and leaping ability to cover tight ends. Closes to tackle on swing and screen passes. Goes from quick to fast when defending the deep seam and long sideline passes; Trufant will stick with speed receivers on vertical routes. Understands angles well enough to establish inside and outside position.
Cons: Trufant isn't an especially physical player -- he doesn't tackle consistently against the run and needs to peel off blocks with more strength and leverage. Could struggle against bigger, more physical NFL receivers who like to mix it up. Gets his feet caught up at times on combo routes.. Benefitted from his status as the best player on Washington's defense; he wasn't as challenged as he would have been in better secondaries because opposing quarterbacks could (and would) avoid him as a target. Could read keys more effectively; will bite on play and run action at times and uses his athleticism and "make-up" speed -- the NFL moves faster.
What he brings to the team: Playing range and consistency. Trufant's excellent performances at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine had teams going back to the tape, and for the most part, the tape matches up. Though there are overall strength issues in his game, Trufant has the experience, physical attributes, and technique awareness to start and excel in the right kind of NFL defense sooner than later.
Was it the right pick? Yes. The Falcons are the right kind of team, and Trufant reminds me a lot of Asante Samuel. Great fit.