The process of bringing Desmond Trufant to Atlanta isn't very different from the journeys other previous first-rounders have taken to the Falcons in recent years under general manager Thomas Dimitroff. It's an involved scouting process, weighing the on- and off-field intangibles, but in the case of Trufant, the process goes back two years.
"We've had our sights set on the first-round pick this year for probably about two years right now," Dimitroff said. "We've monitored and followed closely Desmond's career and as we started to get closer and closer to being able to take the tag off him, we started to get more excited about the idea of having him on this football team."
The idea of Trufant met the acquisition of the former Washington cornerback Thursday night when the Falcons traded up from the No. 30 pick into the St. Louis Rams' 22nd pick to select Trufant, a player Dimitroff calls a "full-package player," meaning a player with the requisite on-field skills and off-the-field characteristics. Dimitroff has repeatedly pointed to Trufant's work ethic and the leadership he learned from his background as a team captain at Washington as traits that helped them sway their opinions toward Trufant.
Trufant's arrival in Atlanta Friday afternoon signals the completion of one process for the Falcons and Trufant, and now the rookie corner must take what he's learned from two older brothers with significant experience at the NFL level. His brother Marcus is 10 years older and Isaiah is eight years older, but Trufant said he's close with both of them and their guidance has helped him not only prepare for the draft experience but also get him ready to transition into a life of professional football.
Having arrived in Atlanta, Trufant knows it's now time to really get to work.
"First of all I just want to thank Mr. Blank, Thomas Dimitroff and coach Smith for having me here and giving me this opportunity and all my family and friends who have supported me throughout this entire journey," Trufant said. "I'm so happy to be here. I'm humbled. I know it's just the beginning. I'm ready to work."
When the call came for Trufant Thursday night after the Falcons made their move, Trufant admitted to shedding a few tears, knowing the hard work he's put in paid off in landing him in the first round. He pointed to the guidance of his brothers once again, sharing how grateful he is to be the third brother to land in the NFL and his desire to make his family proud of the Trufant name.
Considered the best of the three Trufant boys, Desmond has a set of skills that Dimitroff described as "very intriguing", combining size, speed and athleticism with ball skills to get the interception or take away a pass completion with a knock down. Some have called him the best cover corner in the draft and that's the kind of thing Trufant said he loves to do on the field.
"I just love locking people down," Trufant said. "There's just something about locking somebody up. I just love that feeling. There's no other feeling (like it)."