Two years ago the Atlanta Falcons made improving the cornerback position the highlight of the 2013 draft. They traded up to pick Desmond Trufant from Washington with the 22nd pick in the first round and then Robert Alford from Southeast Louisiana in the second round.
Trufant has been a very good player and seems to get better with each NFL snap. He will turn 24 this September and Trufant has started all 32 games the last two seasons. It’s likely new head coach Dan Quinn was impressed with Trufant’s ability when analyzing the first two years of his NFL career.
Alford started just four of 16 games in his rookie season and then was injured and missed six games this past season. There are more questions about Alford’s potential compared to Trufant, especially considering Alford is a bit smaller than Trufant.
Height is important to Quinn when it comes to cornerbacks. He had taller cornerbacks in Seattle. Of course, Richard Sherman is 6-3, as are Tharold Simon and Eric Pinkins. Bryon Maxwell, who left Seattle after last season and signed with the Eagles, is 6-1. So is Jeremy Lane, who remains on Seattle’s roster.
Trufant is 6-0 and weighs 190, so he’s likely ok for Quinn. But will the new coach be scared off by Alford’s injuries and the fact he is only 5-10?
It’s caused some to wonder if Quinn would target a tall cornerback in the draft. And as you play the scenarios that could play out in the first round, one might involve a cornerback being a possibility.
There is little doubt the Falcons need a pass rusher. But what if Dante Fowler, Jr., Vic Beasley and Shane Ray are all off the board? What if the Falcons are afraid of Randy Gregory, who failed a drug test at the combine, or if they simply think Kentucky’s Bud Dupree is not a good value at number eight?
Well, they might go with an offensive lineman, as Iowa’s Brandon Scherff could be available. They could pick Georgia running back Todd Gurley if they believe he’s the next Eric Dickerson. Or they could see that tall cornerback on the board and believe he’s the best fit.
That tall cornerback is Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, who stands at 6-0 and weighs 186 pounds. Waynes was the fastest cornerback at the combine, with a 4.31 time in the 40-yard dash. So with great length and great speed, that’s something that could tempt Quinn, especially if one of those pass rushers is not a slam dunk.
Some believe that Quinn’s best fit for the pass rush is Fowler, who might be gone before the Falcons pick at eight. Then some believe Beasley is not a good scheme fit with what Quinn will want to do. Ray’s stock is dropping, as some analysts believe he may be more of a mid-first round pick compared to a top 10 selection.
So if Quinn is hell bent on helping fix the defense, might he want Waynes, who is considered the best cornerback in the draft? The Falcons would then have to get a pass rusher in the second round. Would they believe it would be a reach to grab Waynes at eight and instead trade down a few spots to get him at 12 or in the early teens? That’s possible, too.
The talk has been so focused on a pass rusher for the Falcons, but we should prepare ourselves for the potential that their favorite pass rusher could be off the board. If so, then what will they do? Well, cornerback, and particularly Trae Waynes, could definitely be a possibility for Atlanta with the first round pick.
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Could Quinn target CB Trae Waynes?
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