Back when the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006, the Cornerback position was littered with talent. Behind starters Nick Harper and Jason David sat a first round pick (Marlin Jackson) and a 2nd round pick (Kelvin Hayden), who each had defining moments during that playoff run that no Colts fan will soon forget. Cornerback isn't a position where you can have too much talent, as there are times that four or five of them have to be on the field at the same time. What better way to increase the talent than by using the #24 overall pick on a CB, and I have just the guy to use it on: Desmond Trufant from Washington.
Trufant played in 50 of the possible 51 games during his four year career with the Huskies, starting 47 of them, including 45 straight and including 9 as a true Freshman. He missed a game last last season with a hamstring injury (against lowly Colorado), but came back the next week. He had 195 tackles in his career (that's almost four per game), with 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, six interceptions, and 38 pass break ups, 16 of which coming in his junior season. Trufant was named to the First Team All-Pac 12 team as a Senior.
He also didn't stick to a single position during his time in Seattle, playing both inside over the slot, as well as outside, which is a major plus when transitioning to the next level, and especially if he goes to a team with two established CBs already (like the Colts). Playing inside means both covering slot receivers, which are becoming more and more important, as well as blitzing the QB, as Chuck Pagano likes to do quite often. Trufant was asked about playing both inside and outside at the Combine, and how well he could do both:
Q: How do you feel about playing inside against the slot receiver? Is that something you can do?
A: Definitely. The way that I get out of my breaks and my transitioning, guys on the slot are a lot quicker. There's a lot of quick game, and I feel like I can do goo at that, and I'm a good blitzer as well, and like to get in on tackles.
He also prefers to play a man-to-man scheme, which is also a match for what the Colts want to do:
I feel like I'm a man-to-man corner. I can play zone as well, but I feel man is my strength. In the league you've got to be able to man up. The receivers are great. You've got to be able to read and react, and be out there on that island. And it's definitely helped me being at UW.
Want more good signs? He has two brothers playing in the NFL. Marcus was a first round pick out of Washington State back in 2003, and has played with the Seahawks his entire career, including being a starter each of his first 9 seasons (more of a backup role in 2012). His other brother, Isaiah, took a more circuitous route to the NFL through the Arena League and the UFL before getting a job with the Jets in 2011, where he's been the past two seasons. While it isn't a hard-and-fast rule (Marcus Vick), usually when a sibling is successful, it gives you a little more confidence they'll be a good pro too.
Many questioned whether he'd be a first round pick before the Combine, as he's had some questions about his technique and needing to hit the weight room, but he silenced quite a few critics by blazing at the Combine (4.38 40), and making an overall good impression on teams. Strength and technique are the two easiest things to fix at the next level, and Trufant will have to do that, but it's easy to see why he's now put himself into the latter parts of the First Round.
As far as the Colts go he'd start immediately, most likely on the inside slot guy, as Vontae Davis and Greg Coler will start outside, and adding Trufant would give the Colts one of the best Secondaries in football. Pagano would be able to open up his Defense a bit, something he couldn't do much last year because of the lack of depth and talent. Again, the Colts won a Super Bowl with a 1st Round pick as the Nickel guy. How about they just go and do it again with Trufant?
Legacy pick with NFL size and athleticism. Very good short-area foot quickness, mirrors receivers on the outside on double moves up the sideline or quick out routes. Capable of playing either outside or in the slot. Has speed to run with better receivers. Plays a lot of press-bail but has length and tenacity in coverage.
Only adequate in his overall strength and physicality, often whiffs at tackle attempts, jumping at feet or throwing a weak shoulder. Has mental lapses in coverage that lead to big plays. Poor technique in press makes him susceptible to giving up plays.
Strengths: Athletic with fluid footwork, flashing the foot agility to drive quickly on the play. Looks natural in space, staying balanced with the hips and transition skills to redirect in any direction. Physical and fights for the ball when it's in the air, showing an excellent competitive nature. Doesn't shy from contact and will get his nose dirty in run support.
Weaknesses: Narrow torso, lean muscle tone and only average length. Opens his hips too early to protect against speed and needs to stay under control in his movements. Streaky technique once the ball in snapped and reverts to bad habits, relying on his natural athleticism over fundamentals. Lacks elite top-end speed and can be beat vertically. Inconsistent tackling technique, hitting too high and lacking the strength to consistently finish.
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