I remember around March of this year, before the draft, I read through an amateur mock draft for the 2013 NFL Draft. Yes, I was viewing a mock draft for 2013 before the 2012 draft had even taken place. Don’t judge. So, right around #5 in the first round, the creator of the mock had Desmond Trufant going to some terrible team. I sighed. It seemed to be a ridiculously high placement for a player that had honestly not ever impressed me in the way a first round draft pick should. He did his job, he was a quality starter. But first round? Most people in the country didn’t even know who the hell he was, other than “Another Trufant? Like Marcus?” Other analysts had him as more of a 5th or 6th rounder.
Well, if this season has taught me anything, it is that no one is really all that good at analyzing corners. I certainly can’t do it, not without watching a ton of game tape. When I’m watching a game, I’m usually watching the line of scrimmage, and specifically, the quarterback. I notice a corner when he makes a nice play to break up a pass when his receiver is targeted. I don’t always notice exactly who is to blame when a guy is moderately open, whether it’s the receiver playing well or the corner playing bad. It’s fairly subjective. So, to be honest, I’ve never really felt confident in saying whether Trufant was an average player or a great player. When the “Experts” said he was somewhere between okay and pretty good, it seemed to match up with what I had seen over the years.
Sep 15, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant (6) prior to the game against the Portland State Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
Thing is, this season, Desmond Trufant is a hot commodity. People are calling him the 2nd best corner in 2013, a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick. All of the sudden, he may even be a solid rest of the season and a good combine away from slipping into the bottom of the first round. It doesn’t seem so outrageous anymore. What changed? Well, Trufant seems noticeably better. I will say that. His receiver does not catch the football very often. But really, he didn’t get way faster, or way taller. He didn’t reinvent the way he plays. He is the same corner that got a 5th or 6th round grade last year, but with a bit of refinement to his game.
So what really changed? People are paying attention to Washington. The Husky defense isn’t such a joke that it is assumed every single defensive back is blowing coverages. The Huskies even beat a top-10 team. Scouts are actually watching Trufant play, he is playing well, so suddenly he is a red-hot NFL prospect practically overnight. That’s great for him, and it’s good for the Huskies, but it is a little bit of a funny commentary on what it takes for a player to get noticed. Sometimes it’s a little more complicated than just playing well.
Trufant gets to take on Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, hopefully one at a time, this Saturday, and you better believe the scouts will be watching. If he happens to shut one of them down, don’t be surprised if he is suddenly considered a first round pick.