Before Marshon Lattimore became the face of NFC South corners, there was Desmond Trufant. The Falcons drafted Trufant 22nd overall in the first round out of the University of Washington back in 2013 and the young corner immediately broke out on to the scene, registering seventeen pass defenses, two interceptions and sixteen starts as a rookie. Five seasons later Trufant has firmly established himself as a top ten cornerback in the league; he was paid as such last year, when he signed a new contract worth $68 million dollars.
In the Falcons Seattle-style defense, head coach Dan Quinn parks his two starting corners on the same side of the field all game; while Trufant locks down the left side, six year pro Robert Alford handles the right. Alford has steadily improved up to 2018, and has turned into a rock-solid player, albeit one with a capped ceiling. You likely won’t ever see Alford make an All-Pro team, but he’ll be one of those players who hangs around the league for quite a long time. In 2017 Alford set a career high for passes defensed with twenty, fourth most in the entire league. Alford’s career highlight is a pick-six in the Super Bowl, on a pass from some guy named Tom Brady.
Together, Alford and Trufant form one of the better one-two punches at cornerback in the NFL.
Joining the Falcon cornerback department this off-season is second round rookie Isaiah Oliver, out of Colorado. Oliver is viewed as a rare athlete with elite size, speed, and length who needs refinement on the little things and an upped dosage of toughness on the field; Trufant and Alford seem to be appropriate role models. With Trufant and Alford locked in as the starters, Oliver will start the season as the team’s nickel cornerback, creating a potentially dynamic trio of corners for the Bucs and the rest of the NFC South to deal with.