When we last left off we took a look at the Falcons Safety positions. Now let's take a look at their partners in the secondary, the cornerbacks. This unit will have a very different look than last year as some familiar names have moved on.
Starter Dunta Robinson was cut and then signed a three year contract with the Chiefs. Former Pro Bowler Brent Grimes signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins and back-up Chris Owens signed a one year deal with the Browns.
Out of the eight CBs on the current roster, Asante Samuel is the lone returning starter. Asante added some flair and leadership to the defense last season as well as 5 INTs, 19 passes defended (which led the team) and 36 combined tackles. Samuel is a good fit for this group and will be counted on to provide leadership to the younger talent.
The other experienced returning CB on the roster that could see significant action is Robert McClain. McClain went from looking like someone who was going to get cut in the first pre-season game or two to being a key cog at nickel for the Falcons. McClain finished with an INT, 2 fumble recoveries and actually finished seventh on the team in total tackles. McClain was also second on the team in passes defended with 10.
The new blood at the corner position will be rookies Desmond Trufant (first round pick) and Robert Alford (second round pick). Fans are excited to see these guys in action as they will add significant speed to the Falcons secondary. Both of these players will be given every chance to earn playing time so expect to see Trufant starting opposite of Samuel at corner and expect to see Alford in spot duty early in the year. Alford should also have an impact on special teams in the return game.
Dominique Franks was drafted in the fifth round by the Falcons in 2010 and played in 16 regular season games last season. He also returned punts. Franks is a guy that is looking at being the fifth corner on the team which means he could be the odd man out if one of the younger guys other than the two previously mentioned rookies make a splash in camp.
Rounding out the roster at CB going into camp is Terrence Johnson (he was signed in Sept when Brent Grimes was put on IR), Saeed Lee (an undrafted rookie free agent out of Alabama State) and Peyton Thompson (was signed as an UDFA in 2012 and stuck with the team on the practice squad).
Will this group be better than last season? That's a good question. The group is definitely more talented than last years squad (if you don't count Brent Grimes because he didn't play in any games due to an injury). The big question is can Trufant and/or Alford step in and make an impact in year one. The good news is that the rookies will be surrounded by a really solid secondary in Samuel, William Moore and Thomas DeCoud. The cornerback position will be one of the most intriguing for the Falcons this during camp and as we head into the season. Fans expect a lot from this group but will the youngsters be able to deliver immediate returns?
State of the Falcons