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Trufant Next In Line In 21 Club

Posted May 29, 2013

Desmond Trufant joined some top company in Falcons history when he chose Deion Sanders' former jersey number. But how have others who wore No. 21 for the Falcons fared?

With the Falcons' OTAs beginning this week, many will be curious about the performance of Falcons first-round draft pick Desmond Trufant. Trufant, however, is back in Washington to finish his college degree and will likely miss most of OTAs.

Still, first-round picks typically come with expectations and when Trufant chose to wear No. 21 in honor of Deion Sanders, the expectations may have gone up a little more.

Sanders, a member of the Falcons Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is the most famous and successful No. 21 in franchise history, but who else put on that number since the franchise began in 1966?

The first No. 21 was worn by Tom Moore in 1967. A running back, Moore joined the team in '67 following a six-year career with the Packers and one season with the Rams. That '67 season would be the only year Moore would play with the Falcons.

The number was vacated until 1979 when Lynn Cain wore it. The running back from USC was a fourth-round pick of the Falcons in the '79 draft and he enjoyed a six-year career with Atlanta.

STORY: Alumni Cain Appreciates The Falcons On And Off The Field

After Cain moved on in '84, Jimmy Turner assumed the number two years later in 1986. A defensive back, Turner spent two seasons with the Falcons after a four-year career with the Bengals.

Sanders was the fourth player in franchise history to wear No. 21, making the number iconic at the position when he joined the Falcons in 1989. After three Pro Bowl seasons in five years with the Falcons, Sanders moved on to San Francisco and later the Cowboys, Redskins and Ravens.

In 1995, Eric Metcalf joined the Falcons for two seasons and wore the number Sanders vacated. That first season as Atlanta's new No. 21, Metcalf caught 104 passes for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns.

A sixth-round pick in 1998 was next in line for 21. Elijah Williams was primarily a defensive back, but also served as a running back and return man. He spent four seasons with the Falcons, appearing in 50 games and accumulated three tackles and one interception.

Darrien Gordon took over No. 21 from Williams in 2001 when he joined the club as a free agent after a standout career in San Diego, Denver and Oakland.

Juran Bolden is next on the 21 list, sporting the number from 2002 to 2003, his second stint with the team. Bolden was originally drafted by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 1996 draft. He spent the first two seasons of his career with Atlanta.

DeAngelo Hall was the second of the three first-round Falcons cornerbacks to wear No. 21. Hall was the eighth pick overall in the 2004 draft and enjoyed a solid career with the Falcons before he left via a trade to the Raiders. Hall was a two-time Pro Bowler during his time in Atlanta and after Sanders he may be the most successful No. 21 in Falcons history.

Chris Owens was a third-round pick by the Falcons in 2009 and was the last Falcon to wear No. 21 before Trufant chose to wear it to begin his career with Atlanta. Owens was a part-time starter during his time in Atlanta and a top special teams performer. Owens totaled 126 career tackles from '09 to '11 with the Falcons and grabbed three interceptions. He signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns during the offseason this year.

Where will Trufant find himself among the list of Falcons players wearing No. 21? If things go according to plan, we'll know that in a decade, but for now Trufant is looking to battle for the starting position opposite Asante Samuel.