This week’s edition of Backdraft profiles Seattle Seahawks fifth-year cornerback Marcus Trufant. The Seahawks' first-round draft pick (11th overall) in the 2003 NFL Draft has been a good player since entering the National Football League. But he’s emerged as one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL this season, as he’s currently ranked second in the league with seven interceptions, trailing only Antonio Cromartie who leads the league with nine.
A former Washington State standout, Trufant started all four years with the Cougars and led them to a Rose Bowl appearance against Oklahoma during the 2002 season. He finished his career at WSU with 201 tackles (153 solos) and eleven interceptions in 42 games. Amazingly, in his final two seasons with the Cougars, he didn’t allow a touchdown reception.
Trufant and the Seahawks recently clinched the NFC West division with a 9–5 record and are heading to the playoffs. But before they make a run at another Super Bowl appearance, Trufant talked with Scout.com’s Chris Steuber and took a look back at how he ended up playing for his hometown Seahawks.
Chris Steuber: What was your experience at the Scouting Combine like?
Marcus Trufant: The Combine was a pretty stressful experience, but you know that it’s for a good cause. You have to try and enjoy the experience, but you know that everything is on the line and there’s a lot of pressure. You’re meeting a lot of different coaches. You’re working out; you’re doing this and that. There’s just a lot going on in a short period of time.
CS: How many teams did you meet with at the Combine?
Trufant: I can’t remember exactly how many teams; you meet with a handful of teams, probably 10 to 15 teams, and they just want to get a feel for your personality and your football smarts. They just want to feel you out as a person.
CS: Did they have you draw up plays during the meetings?
Trufant: Yes, in some of the meetings. They ask you about certain plays, and they ask you about different life situations that occur off the field. They ask you what would you do in this situation, or if something did happen to you in college or in your past they ask you about that and ask what happened.
CS: Was there a team that showed more interest in you than another?
Trufant: I really wasn’t sure. I really didn’t have a feel as to where I was going to go or who was showing the most interest. I think teams try to hide that, because they don’t want to tip anybody off.
CS: Leading up to the Combine, before you even stepped foot in Indianapolis, where did you think you’d be drafted? First round?
Trufant: You never really know, but during the Combine, agents are telling you different things. Sports magazines are saying stuff, so you really never know. For me, personally, I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself and say I’m going to go first round or second round. I just wanted to do the best I could at the Combine and just let the chips fall where they may.
CS: What were your impressions of the Wonderlic test?
Trufant: The Wonderlic test (laughs)… it was an experience. It was long, tiring, but it’s something you just have to do.
CS: Was there any particular question that you sort of laughed at and wondered what it had to do with football?
Trufant: I’m trying to remember, but I would have to assume so. It was one of those tests that you have to think about and sometimes get stuck. But yeah, there were a few crazy questions on there, but it’s hard for me to remember. I feel like I’m an old man now. It feels like I was at the Combine a long time ago.
CS: It may seem like a long time ago, but I’m sure you remember the time you stood in front of a crowded room, in your underwear, being weighed. What was that like?
Trufant: It was a [Pause]… different experience. It was an eye opener. It just shows how many people are trying to get into the NFL. It’s an ongoing thing; a revolving door, and every year it occurs.
CS: What was the strangest part of your Combine experience, if there was one?
Trufant: The strangest part of the whole experience… [Pause]… it had to be that weigh in. Walking around in your underwear, seeing people with notepads taking notes on you, it feels like you’re a part of a herd of cattle just walking around. But that’s how it works. I think it’s really different for young guys; it has to be an eye opener.
CS: What can you tell me about your time in the Bod Pod?
Trufant: [Laughs]… yeah, the Bod Pod. That’s something different too, but I actually had done that during my workouts. They actually had the Bod Pod, that little egg-shaped thing, and they take your body fat percentage and all of that. I had done that before. But that’s something different; it’s a spaced aged looking thing. It’s just something you have to do.
CS: When you look back at your experience at the Combine, you have to believe that was one of your most wildest football experiences, right?
Trufant: The whole experience is pretty wild. If you think about it, and I used to think about it a lot, every year this Combine happens and it’s gone on before me and it will happen after my career. It’s one of those things where you have to take it all in and enjoy it a little bit and put in the hard work.
CS: Did you go on the Internet and look at mock drafts prior to the draft, or did your rely on your agent for information?
Trufant: I relied on my agent. I wasn’t a big Internet surfer. I wasn’t trying to figure out where I was going to go in the draft. I was already nervous in the first place, so I didn’t want to make myself even more stressed. I just let things play out and listened to my agent and what he was telling me.
CS: What was draft day like? Where were you and what were your emotions?
Trufant: Draft day for me was an exciting day. I was with my family. I just went to the nearest hotel with my mom, my dad, and my brothers. I had a draft party, but I separated myself from the party. I waited until I got picked, and then went down to the party. I did that just so everybody at the party wasn’t looking at me when the first pick went off the board and asking me when I was going to get drafted. So after I was picked 11th overall to Seattle, I went down to the party, and everyone was giving me high-fives, hugs, and all of that. I ate well, but then I had to leave for Seattle to do a press conference.
Trufant on the sidelines after making an interception against the Cardinals..
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
CS: Being selected 11th overall you didn’t have to wait too long to be drafted, but was there a lot of anxiety just waiting for your name to be called?
Trufant: Oh yeah, man, there was a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of anticipation, nervousness; you’re not really sure what’s going on. You’re going back and forth on the phone with your agent. He’s telling you that teams are going to call you and all of that. It’s a pretty nerve racking experience. It’s stressful, but at the same time it’s a dream come true. After it’s all said and done, you can look back and reflect on your day and enjoy it.
CS: What was the phone call from the Seahawks like?
Trufant: The phone call was pretty straightforward. They said congratulations and welcome aboard. I was looking at the TV screen with my name flashing across the screen. My mom and dad were screaming with excitement. I was excited; it was just a dream come true.
CS: It’s one thing to get drafted and enjoy the experience with your family and friends. But the one thing fans don’t realize is the turnaround for draftees to leave their families and hop on a plane to their new playing destination. What was the turnaround for you to get to Seattle?
Trufant: I’m from Tacoma, but I had to drive 45-minutes from my party to Seattle. I was able to stay at my party after I was drafted for about 15 – 20 minutes before I had to shoot up to Seattle. I had to go to Seattle to do the interviews and everything. It was that quick.
CS: Being from Washington State and growing up so close to Seattle, what was it like to be drafted by the Seahawks, and has it been everything you expected?
Trufant: It was a good feeling, and I knew I’d have a lot of love out here. I have a lot of support, a lot of family and friends out here. I played college ball out here. It was going to work out in my favor for the most part. I didn’t have to travel across country; it was a good deal.
CS: What was it like to be a member of the first Seahawks team to make it to the Super Bowl?
Trufant: The experience at Super Bowl XL was out of this world. You have so much going on with the media. You just have a lot of stuff going on, and the best thing is that you made it to the top. There’s a lot that goes into playing in the Super Bowl. It’s a sense of accomplishment, and of course you want to win, but just making it there is an accomplishment in itself.
CS: It probably feels like a long time ago since you were drafted, but you’re still a young player and you don’t turn 27 until Christmas day — happy birthday by the way. Looking at your career thus far, what do you still hope to accomplish?
Trufant: Thank you. My goals for the rest of my career are to continue to get better; like you said I still consider myself as a young player. The Super Bowl is always a goal of mine. Winning a Super Bowl is the ultimate team goal, and that’s what I play for.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.