They met at the Senior Bowl, but it was off the field, not during this play when they found themselves going head-to-head.
Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford will always be linked in the history of the Falcons. They were the top two picks in the 2013 draft, Trufant going in the first round and Alford in the second. They're both cornerbacks. They're both fast and they're both playmakers. Now they're teammates and joined at the hip may be an extreme description, but they're close.
"We built camaraderie at the Senior Bowl and we're staying together right now so we've been linked up," Alford said Saturday. "We're here to compete for the Falcons, do what we've been doing and do what we can to help this team get to the Super Bowl."
Trufant had a similar story on Alford when he stood in front of the media. He said the two are learning together in the process and it's a cool experience to go through it with someone he knows and shares a position with.
Many Falcons fans imagine a day when their defense is led by two lock-down corners taking away two portions of the field, the kind of roles Trufant and Alford can potentially fill in Atlanta, but for now, one day into their first rookie minicamp, they'll settle for the smallest learning curve possible.
Trufant said he felt the coaching staff made things easy for him and it wasn't long before he felt natural on the field. Alford said the pro playbook is bigger than what he was used to at Southeast Louisiana, but that shouldn't pose a problem.
Both players want to begin their careers in Atlanta on the field, playing meaningful snaps for the NFC South champs, but they know competition is strong. Already on the roster for the Falcons are Asante Samuel and Robert McClain, returning starters from last season, Dominique Franks and Terrence Johnson and Peyton Thompson, a practice squad member from last season. The Falcons also have three college free agents and tryout players in camp at cornerback: Momo Thomas, Saeed Lee and Kelly Dawsey.
One of the ways to impress at corner and win a job will be showing they can handle playing tall and physical receivers in the NFL. The Falcons offer a great lesson in that for Trufant and Alford since they field two of the league's best in Roddy White and Julio Jones. Practicing against those two, according to Trufant, will only make them better.
"You're' going against the best in the world," Trufant said. "We've got two of the best here on our team. I'm looking forward to going against the best receivers. I'm a competitor and I just want to compete against the best."