In the biggest job interview of his life, Desmond Trufant couldn't have performed better than he did at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine.
The former Washington Huskies star absolutely nailed his drills, posting top-five marks in the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle, and performed admirably during on-field drills and the jumps.
Here's a quick look at how he did, along with how he ranked against his peers, per NFL.com:
|40-Yard Dash||Bench Press||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||20-Yard Shuttle|
|Trufant||4.38 sec. (3)||16 reps (6)||37.5 in. (T-6)||125 in. (12)||3.85 sec. (2)|
Trufant was already considered to be a fringe first-round pick, but he put up a performance that signifies a turning point in how he's going to be perceived the rest of the way until draft day in late April.
Johnthan Banks, Jordan Poyer and David Amerson—players who were being thrown into the same boat as Trufant, as fringe first-round picks—all posted lesser numbers. All things being equal, it's clear that Trufant set himself apart as the No. 3 cornerback in this year's draft class behind Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes.
A four-year starter at Washington, Trufant performed at a high level, logging 151 career solo tackles, two sacks, six interceptions, 38 passes defended, one recovered fumble (which he ran in for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles.
He made it his mission in life to take on the best receiver every week during his senior year when the Huskies implemented a man-to-man scheme on defense. Not only did Trufant excel in this scheme, but he also welcomed the challenge.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune's Eric Williams:
Man coverage also is the preference of University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant, who has the biggest audition of his young life at the NFL scouting combine this week.
"We did a lot of man-to-man,” [Trufant] said. “And I feel like I’m a man-to-man corner. I can play zone as well, but I feel man is my strength. In the (NFL) you’ve got to be able to man up. The receivers are great. You’ve got to be able to read and react, and be out there on that island. And it’s definitely helped me being at UW.”
During the week of practices leading up to the Senior Bowl, Trufant clearly demonstrated his ability to cover receivers on an island.
CBS Sports' Rob Rang covered the Senior Bowl and wrote this about Trufant:
Trufant...demonstrated great quickness, anticipation and competitiveness in Tuesday's practice, allowing just two receptions despite often drawing the toughest assignments the North team had to offer.
Demonstrating the physicality to disrupt receivers while in press as well as the quickness and fluidity to turn and run when playing off, Trufant was effective both inside and out. He was frequently challenged by the North quarterbacks but closed quickly on the ball, breaking up several passes.
Trufant's ability to lock down one side of the field, combined with his impressive combine numbers, has cemented his status as a first-round talent.
And with teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers all potentially looking for secondary help early in the draft, I would be shocked to see him still sitting on the board at the beginning of Round 2.
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