Philadelphia Eagles: Desmond Trufant feels destined to land in Philly

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

After being released by the Atlanta Falcons following seven seasons as a starter, Desmond Trufant feels destined to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sometimes a player becomes available, and you just know what team is going to pick them up.  Call it a hunch, call it an educated guess, but for whatever reason, a pairing just makes too much sense not to happen.

That being said, I present to you my bold theory: Philadelphia Eagles are definitely going to sign Desmond Trufant.

Why do I have this feeling? Well, I’m glad you ask.

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First and foremost, Trufant is the kind of player Jim Schwartz likes to play at cornerback. Measuring in at 6-foot, 190 pounds with a rangey build and 4.38 track speed, Trufant is a natural route runner from the cornerback position. That’s important, because he also has fantastic ball skills and a ballhawk’s mentality, picking off 13 passes while defensing 79 more as the Falcons’ certified number one cornerback.

As fans in Philly know too well, since Schwartz became the Eagles’ defensive coordinator in 2016, the team has prioritized playing players who fight for the ball in mid-air, even if it doesn’t always directly translate to interceptions.

Trufant also has a ton of experience playing in an off-ball single-high scheme with a ton of crossover to what Philly likes to do. Whether deployed on the outside – either side – or in the slot, Trufant has the increasingly rare ability to blanket an opposing team’s best receiver play after play and help to stop the bleeding against elite performers like DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans.

If you think back to Week 2, you might also recall Trufant picking off two passes from Carson Wentz in an eventual Falcons victory, including a pick that made second-round rookie wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside look downright foolish.

With Trufant in the fray, the Eagles would finally have a moveable chess piece at cornerback that can travel with a player like Amari Cooper, Terry McLaurin, and whoever emerges as the New York Giants‘ top offensive target. Trufant can also help to eliminate the downfield vertical routes that have gouges the Eagles for oh so many touchdowns over the past four years.

But wait, there’s more. Trufant’s status as a prototypical number one cornerback can also help a flawed but potentially effective player like Rasul Douglas optimize his skill set without having to face off against speedy receivers who have given him fits on the outside. When playing in space, or against big-bodied possession receivers, Douglas can do a good job, and optimize his ability to track the ball in the air and play an errant pass. Similarly, Trufant can match up against bigger options if playing across from Avonte Maddox, who has the speed to match up with any receiver in the NFL but can get bodied up against even average-sized receivers.

In a lot of ways, Trufant is the playmaking cornerback the Eagles hoped they’d get when they drafted Sidney Jones 43rd overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. While Jones never quite caught on as a starter over his first three years with the team, maybe having another Washington alum on the roster could help him unlock the potential many saw in his tape coming out of college.

Couldn’t hurt, right?

Now to be fair, virtually any of the top cornerbacks on the market can fill the same role as Trufant in 2020, from Byron Jones to Logan Ryan, but when you consider the Eagles just signed ex-Falcons defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel to replace Cory Undlin for the forthcoming season, a pairing between the two parties looks even more obvious. With a little over $17 million still owed to Trufant over the next three seasons from Atlanta, the Eagles may be able to lock the 29-year-old veteran into a new, medium-length deal for less than Jones’ $18 million a year number while still receiving improved production over Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills.

Factor in the fact that a potential signing wouldn’t affect the Eagles’ compensatory pick formula since he was waived by the Falcons, and it’s hard to find a reason for Howie Roseman not to be totally onboard the Trufant train. This is kind of his dream scenario.

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Ultimately, where Desmond Trufant signs later this week is between him, his new team, and his agent. I’m just pointing out that there are a ton of thread connecting the ex-Atlanta Falcons’ cornerback to the Philadelphia Eagles with free agency right around the ‘corner’.