Rookie Alford Brings Versatile Experience

Posted Jun 24, 2013

Second-round cornerback Robert Alford did a lot of different things during his career in college. He’s using that experience now with the Falcons and looking to contribute at the cornerback position, as well as in the return game.

What started as an unorthodox move during the draft, selecting two corners in the first two rounds, is now beginning to look like another solid move by Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

First-round pick Desmond Trufant and second-rounder Robert Alford have walked out of OTAs and minicamp with good reviews from the coaching staff and prepare for their first training camp. Falcons head coach Mike Smith said both have man-corner abilities and the two young corners got plenty of experience rotating in and out of first-team reps during minicamp. Smith said Trufant and Alford will continue to get a lot of experience when the training camp begins in late July.

PHOTOS: See Images From Day 3 Of Minicamp

“I think our two corners, they’ve got the skillsets to be very good players for us,” Smith said. “They’re going to get a chance to get lots of reps early on in the preseason.”

Smith said the reps against the Falcons' top two receivers, Julio Jones and Roddy White, who many consider one of the top duos in the league, would only help the young corners get better. The best way for players to get better is to face top competition and that’s how they’re treating Trufant and Alford.

“It’s a learning lesson each time they go against them,” Smith said about the matchup.

Alford was one of the top combo cornerback/return man options in the draft. Alford has been taking reps at the return position with others and he’s using his versatile experience as a corner at Southeastern Louisiana University.

PHOTOS: See Images From Alford's College Career

“Right now they have me at the left (corner), but I would grade myself as versatile,” Alford said. “I can play either slot, left or right. It’s pretty much whatever the coaches need me to play and help this team to get to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl, I’m willing to do it.”

Alford said one of the reasons he moved around so much at Southeastern Louisiana is because he would often guard the opponent’s top receiver, wherever he lined up on the field.

Alford and Trufant join Asante Samuel and Robert McClain as the Falcons top competition for the starting corner jobs. Dominique Franks, Terrence Johnson, Saeed Lee and Peyton Thompson round out the competition heading into training camp.

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