The National Football League is buzzing about Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant after some eye-opening performances during the draft process.
Trufant not only displayed impressive man-to-man coverage skills and toughness during Senior Bowl week, he exhibited stand-up-on-your-chair-and-jump-up-and-down athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, when he posted the third-best time in the 40-yard dash among defensive backs (4.38 seconds, via NFL.com).
So, after the final workouts at the combine on Tuesday, here are Trufant's most likely destinations come draft day.
5. San Francisco 49ers (No. 31 pick)
After Chris Culliver's ugly display in Super Bowl XLVII and the decline of veteran Carlos Rogers, the 49ers could be in the running for a new cornerback this year.
On the other hand, they are No. 5 on my list because a) I don't think Trufant drops this far and b) I don't think the 49ers have entirely given up hope on Culliver. The 2011 third-rounder actually played very well until the last few games of the season.
4. New York Giants (No. 19)
The Giants' secondary may need to be addressed with Corey Webster curiously falling off in 2012, so there's a possibility New York could take Trufant at No. 19 overall.
What may hold them back is that the Giants have more pressing concerns, particularly in the front seven and at offensive tackle. I can't see them taking Trufant and ignoring those other needs in the first round.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 13)
This is where it gets interesting for me. This could be between Trufant and Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes. It's obvious the Buccaneers took a hit in the secondary when Aqib Talib left town.
Still, I think the Bucs take Rhodes here. He has better size (6'1", 210 pounds) and he tied for first and fourth at the position in the vertical leap and the broad jump respectively.
Why is this significant?
Because the Buccaneers need a physical, relatively tall corner who can battle with the bigger receivers of the NFL and bat away jump balls in the end zone.
2. New England Patriots (No. 29)
If Trufant drops here, it's hard to imagine the Patriots not taking him, given their troubles in the secondary last season.
I just don't think Trufant drops this far. His athleticism—combined with his toughness—has many NFL teams batting their eyes at the 6'0", 190-pound defensive back.
1. Indianapolis Colts (No. 24)
Given Trufant's spectacular showings during Senior Bowl week and at the combine, I could see him being selected before No. 24 overall.
But when I examine all the teams that could nab him this year, I continue to find him plopping on the lap of the Indianapolis Colts in my mock drafts, based on other teams' needs and his relative draft stock.
The Colts would love to find a cornerback who has the potential to immediately start opposite Vontae Davis next season. Trufant could be that guy.
Plus, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds in the Colts' backyard.