Left Cornerback: Desmond Trufant
The present and the future star cornerback for Atlanta will be playing this position until he retires. Desmond Trufant is the definition of a stud. Playing the fourth most snaps (1099) in 2014 out of all cornerbacks, Trufant was ranked sixth overall by ProFootballFocus.com. The reality is Trufant is already a top five cornerback in this league, and he has only been in the league for two seasons. Even though the Falcons will run a new defensive scheme, expect Trufant to be the centerpiece that makes big plays throughout the 2015 season.
Right Cornerback: Robert Alford
This player was selected in the same draft class as Desmond Trufant. Many Falcons fans have way too high of expectations for Robert Alford, as he has not had the incredible start to his career as Trufant has. But give him time! He has to develop in order to progress his game. The last two defenses he has played on have been nothing but awful, so the secondary has had more pressure on them. Atlanta has not had a pass rush the past two seasons, so when a quarterback has at least five seconds everytime he drops backs, he will find an open man. Now Alford does need to develop this year, or his spot could be taken by second-round pick Jalen Collins. Alford let up at least five plays that went 20 or more yards, meaning that number has to go down. Alford has shown flashes of potential, and I have a feeling he will bring a solid contribution to the Falcons new-look defense.
Nickel Cornerback: Jalen Collins
The potential on this player is sky-high. But which Jalen Collins will show up to the NFL? The one who kept getting suspended in college because he could not stay focused or the player who NFL experts had graded as a first-round choice? I still don’t know what to make of the pick, but at the end of the day, it is what it is. Collins is an Atlanta Falcon, and history cannot be changed. Watching him in minicamp had me confident in his abilities. He seemed to stay upbeat throughout every practice, and the coaches seemed to target him. Whenever Collins went off the practice field, he was always talked to by coaches nearby. Raheem Morris, Richard Smith, Dan Quinn seem confident on Collins, and we will see how he does during training camp and the preseason. That will be key for him, as playing against savvy veteran receivers in practice will only make him better. Julio Jones and Roddy White helped Trufant and Alford progress, and hopefully they can do the same with Collins.
Strong Safety: William Moore
Not really a surprise that Moore will be starting here yet again. The trait that fails him the most is his durability. He seems to be injured more often than not, as he has only completed a full season twice out of six years he has been in the league. Moore is a ferocious hitter, as opponents have found out over the years. Ask former Rams tight end Mike McNeill if he remembers when Moore slammed him WWE style to the turf. When Moore is healthy, he is starting. His health is key, not only to himself, but to the success of the 2015 Falcons season.
Free Safety: Ricardo Allen
The guy that was a practice squad player in 2014 somehow can be a starter in 2015. Allen is that good, or the free safeties on Atlanta roster are terrible. Either way, Allen has been practicing with the first team in minicamp, and will likely stick with them during training camp and the preseason. It still baffles me how he could leap so far to become a starter, but it looks like the other players competing for free safety aren’t good. I’m not confident if Allen is the starter or anyone else, as no one besides Charles Godfrey brings experience. And if Godfrey is starting, the Falcons are in trouble. Expect Allen to make many mistakes, but expect some highlight plays. He was a ballhawk back at Purdue, but this is the NFL. I believe he will be the free safety, but don’t label me confident whatsoever.