By all accounts, University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant accomplished what he set out to do at this week’s Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.
Now, all that remains is to compete in the game at 1 p.m. today.
Trufant outshone the competition, and in the process put himself in the conversation as a likely first-round pick heading into this afternoon’s senior all-star game after impressive performances during practice sessions this week.
“My whole goal was to come down here and just make a statement,” said Trufant, who played at Wilson High School. “I was on a mission. I knew the opportunity I had coming down here with the NFL scouts and everybody in the world watching. I just wanted to prove that I was an elite player in this draft.”
According to Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with NFLDraftScout.com, Trufant was the best cornerback on the field.
Heading into this week’s Senior Bowl, Rang wondered if Trufant could use the experience to springboard into the first round. But after talking to NFL scouts while attending practices this week, Rang learned he’s already there.
“He was unquestionably the top defensive back in Mobile,” Rang said. “There were very few completions thrown against him. He was breaking up passes, and quarterbacks were forced to look the other way because he was blanketing guys.”
Rang wasn’t alone in his assessment among draft analysts.
“Trufant has been the top cornerback in Mobile,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Philadelphia Eagles. “He has shown outstanding foot quickness, agility and ball skills. Most teams that I spoke with prior to the Senior Bowl had Trufant pegged as a middle of the second round-type player. Following three days of practice, nearly every personnel executive I spoke with considers him a likely first-round pick.”
Older brother Marcus accomplished the same thing nearly a decade ago. The Washington State University standout’s performance at the Senior Bowl helped catapult him to the No. 11 selection by the Seattle Seahawks in 2003.
Marcus and Isaiah Trufant were both on hand for this week’s festivities in Mobile to provide support and encouragement for the youngest Trufant, with the hope the he will join his brothers in the NFL in 2013.
Trufant, a first-team, All-Pacific-12 Conference performer this season, was measured at 5-foot-11 and 186 pounds.
“It meant a lot just to have somebody close to home that I could grasp onto,” Desmond Trufant said about having his older brothers there. “You’re under a lot of pressure. It was just comforting. I’m glad they were here to support me.”
Marcus, 32, will become a free agent in March. He said that he would like to return to Seattle, but has not announced any plans to retire.
Isaiah Trufant finished the season on the New York Jets’ injured reserve list after suffering a knee injury at Seattle in November while competing against older brother Marcus for the first time. Isaiah is expected to return to the Jets next season.
“I can’t remember the last time there’s been three brothers in the NFL at the same time, playing the same position,” Desmond Trufant said. “It would be a milestone. We owe it to our parents for raising us well and keeping us on the right path. So it would definitely mean a lot.”
But Desmond Trufant still understands he has work to do. After today’s game, he’ll travel to Arizona to train at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix in anticipation of the NFL scouting combine in late February.
One of the few remaining questions Desmond Trufant has to address is his long speed. He wouldn’t say what 40-yard dash time he plans to run, other than he wants to beat older brother Marcus Trufant’s combine time of 4.38 seconds.
We’ll see,” he said. “I’m just going to keep the world waiting.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org