While the 2014 season didn't go as planned for the Atlanta Falcons, there were plenty of signs pointing in the direction of future success, including Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant. One of the team's youngest and best players, Trufant gained league-wide attention during his second year in the NFL.
The 24-year-old star played in such a way this season that Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank cited Trufant when making a point about the need for more defensive pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
"In my opinion, unless you pressure the quarterbacks in this league, you're going to have a problem," Blank said. "We could have 12 number 21s, Desmond Trufants, on the field, and they're not going to have a enough time to cover the wide receivers in this league, unless there's pressure."
CB Desmond Trufant was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft 22nd overall and quickly earned his position on the team starting all 16 games during his rookie season.
While Blank's point was more about defensive pressure, it also served as high praise for the former Washington Huskies cornerback. Embracing the opposing team's top receiver each and every week, Trufant put up big numbers in year two.
He finished the season with 61 tackles, 18 passes defensed, tied for the fifth most in a single season by a Falcons defender, three interceptions and one fumble recovery. His success in 2014 only provided more confidence and motivation for next season.
"I'm trying to take my game to the next level," Trufant said. "I feel I don't get the respect I deserve, because I felt I was playing as good as anybody at my position. I'm just going to keep working; that's just going to make me hungrier. I'm going to get better. I'm going to be two times better next year. I'm going to be ready when it's time to go."