SOTT Draft Profile: Desmond Trufant
One of the risers at the Senior Bowl, cornerback Desmond Trufant is proving that he belongs in the NFL. Trufant is from the University of Washington and has NFL ties with his brother Marcus who plays for the Seattle Seahawks.
We talked to Kirk DeGrasse from the UW Dawg Pound, a Washington Huskies Community on SB Nation, about the promising corner back.
Tale of the Tape:
Weight: 185 lbs.
Can you give us some background on how Desmond ended up at Washington?
Desmond, a consensus 1st Team All-State choice as a high school senior and a 3-star prospect by both Scout.com & Rivals.com, was a top priority for Coach Sarkisian when he was hired at the UW – when he flew up for his introductory press conference, Trufant was the first recruit he visited that day. Trufant’s eldest brother Marcus Trufant was a guy that fell through the cracks when Jim Lambright was fired at the UW and Rick Neuheisel was hired, and he ended up at WSU. Sark wanted to make sure that mistake wasn’t repeated with Desmond, and his efforts paid off as he committed a month later.
What did he mean to the Huskies football program?
1st team All Pac-12, does Trufant have what it takes to make a difference at the next level?
I believe he has that potential. He got off to a strong start as a true frosh, but many felt he didn’t live up to those lofty expectations his next two years. There probably wasn’t another player on the roster that benefited more from the changes in the defensive coaching staff from former coordinator Nick Holt and cornerbarck coach Demetrice Martin to new coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward. Wilcox, a former DB himself, brought a more aggressive approach to the UW schemes and allowed Trufant to play far more man coverage – under Holt, he was usually forced to play passive zone schemes and line up 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage. Heyward brought with him a reputation for the physical play of his backs at Oregon State, and Trufant clearly embraced and thrived in those changes.
What are his strengths and weaknesses on the field?
Trufant has demonstrated strong cover skills – he has good hip turn and enough speed to stay with most receivers and to close quickly on the ball. While he doesn’t have the outstanding hands of a guy like Richard Sherman, he does a good job getting his hands in there and deflecting the ball or ripping the receivers’s arm to prevent the catch. He displays willingness to stick his facemask in guys and doesn’t shy away from run support or fighting through a block on the bubble screen play. His 4.5 tackles for loss this year reflects his aggressiveness.
On the downside, he’s probably never going to post high interception totals – while his hands aren’t bad, he usually chooses the safe play of knocking the ball away rather than gambling to make the pick. His speed is good, but not elite – he’ll probably post a 40-time in the mid to high 4.4 range. While he’s willing to mix it up physically, his form isn’t always great, and he could stand to get stronger. He has decent size at 6′ even and 180lbs, but he’s not one of the Pete Carroll breed of big DB’s. He played a lot of zone earlier in his career under Holt, but didn’t appear entirely comfortable with it. He improved his press skills this year under Heyward, but he’s got a long ways to go to really be effective at it.
Is he a press or zone coverage corner back?
He mostly played in zone schemes for his first 3 years at the UW, so he has plenty of experience there, but he really flourished this year when given a much higher dose of man coverage responsibilities.
How do you see Trufant projecting at the next level?
Desmond has always been seen as a guy that would likely go on to play in the NFL, and even after a moderately underwhelming Junior season I saw projections that listed him as a possible 1st round pick. I thought that was highly optimistic at the time, but he was very, very impressive this year under the new defensive coaching staff. The job he did against Marquise Lee – holding the incredibly talented USC wideout to just 2 catches for 32 yards – shows his NFL potential.
I’m not certain he can be an elite CB at the next level, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t at least a solid starter for several years.
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