Desmond Trufant | 2013 NFL Draft Prospect

It seems like everyone is writing about University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant these days, so I figured I should join the party. We already knew Trufant was a rising star in Seattle, but now everyone is taking notice thanks to his offseason workouts. Trufant is doing so well that he’s now expected to be a top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Desmond Trufant | 2013 NFL Draft

Desmond Trufant

Desmond Trufant just wrapped up practice at the Senior Bowl. His efforts there led NFL Network analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah to say Trufant had the best performance of anyone during Senior Bowl practice week (video). Jeremiah pointed to Trufant’s consistency from drill-to-drill, and he says Trufant showed the top end speed some people thought he lacked. Jeremiah added that Trufant “likely emerged as a first round pick” thanks to his performance at practice.

Everyone is starting to jump on the Desmond Trufant first round draft pick bandwagon. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him as the third best cornerback prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft. They project him to go in the first round. CBSSports.com and NFL.com aren’t quite ready to call Trufant a first round pick yet, but they might change their minds as the months roll on. We’ll see if Trufant can keep up his consistency leading up to the draft in April.

NOTE: From the time I started writing this post about 30 minutes ago, CBSSports.com has since updated their draft projection for Desmond Trufant – they now list him as a first round pick. That shows just how quickly Trufant’s stock is rising.

Workouts are workouts — games are games. Desmond Trufant has shown that he has plenty of skill on the field. Trufant recorded 36 tackles (4.5 for loss), 1 sack and 1 interception this season. He also defended 10 passes for the Huskies. I know his numbers aren’t mind-blowing, but it was more than enough for Trufant to be named first-team All-Pac-12 and a second-team All-America by FOXSportsNext.com.

Desmond Trufant has plenty of skills you can’t find on the state sheet. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him several times. He’s a nice, well-spoken kid with a good head on his shoulders. Trufant was also the heart and soul of the Huskies defense. I heard Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian praise him over and over again this season. Trufant’s leadership skills are apparently off the charts.

Not only is Trufant a local kid (he went to Wilson High School in Tacoma), but football is in his blood. Trufant’s older brothers are Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and New York Jets cornerback Isaiah Trufant. That means Desmond will be the third Trufant brother to make it to the NFL. That’s quite a feat. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, only 348 documented sets of brothers have played professional football.

There’s no doubt Desmond Trufant will join his brothers in the NFL, but it’s unclear when he’ll be selected. If he keeps up the  rapid pace he’s on right now, Trufant will surely find himself as a first round draft pick with a large paycheck to back that up. But, it’s all speculation for now. The 2013 NFL Draft happens April 25-April 27th.

Have you watched Desmond Trufant play? What do you think of him? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and travel!

Training Camp | The Life Of An NFL Rookie

Training camps are underway all over the National Football League. That means roster spots and playing time are up for grabs around the country. While camp is old news for the veterans (some even try to avoid it like the plague), this is a brand new world for the rookies. These guys were just college students a few months ago, and now they’re professional football players. They’re forced to grow up fast — and if they don’t — they get left in the dust.

Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson

There are major differences between college football and the NFL. The adjustments are different for every rookie. Seahawks fifth round pick Korey Toomer (a linebacker out of Idaho) says the mental part of the NFL game is the toughest, especially understanding the playbook and learning from the veterans. Third rounder Russell Wilson (a quarterback from Wisconsin) echoed that sentiment, saying he spends nine hours a day studying the playbook. He also said that he tries to learn at least three new things at practice every single day. So, instead of learning math or history like they were a few months ago — rookies are now students of the game.

“I put my best foot forward every time” Wilson explained to me. “I’m going to compete, because that’s the way I was raised my entire life.”

First round draft pick Bruce Irvin (a linebacker out of West Virginia) isn’t concerned with the mental aspect; he just has a hard time with the six o’clock wake-up call every morning. He says all the rookies are up early, and then they have to spend extra hours (that the veterans don’t) at the training facility every day, so that makes for really long days. Aside from all that, Irvin says the speed of the NFL is the biggest difference for him.

“Everybody is fast,” he said. “Tackles are big, athletic dudes that move like power forwards in the [NBA].”

We often focus on the glitz and glamor of playing in the NFL, but that’s not the lifestyle for most rookies. These guys are constantly fighting for their professional lives — one mistake can mean the end of their football careers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the rookies say, “I have to make the most of my opportunities.” From Bruce Irvin (who’s guaranteed a roster spot), to fourth round running back Robert Turbin, to seventh round defensive end Greg Scruggs — they’re all determined to make an impression at camp.

“Every time you come out to practice, someone is trying to win a spot,” said second round pick Bobby Wagner (a linebacker from Utah State). “If you come here asleep, someone will take your job.”

“I’m just trying to earn a spot on the team,” said Korey Toomer. “Whether it’s special teams or anything else the coach wants me to do, wherever they want to put me, that’s where I’ll play.”

Bruce Irvin Seattle Seahawks Linebacker

Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker Bruce Irvin

On top of all the adjustments they have to make and the fierce competition, the rookies also have to deal with some light-hearted hazing. Toomer says he hasn’t faced anything yet, but he knows it’s coming. Irvin also says he hasn’t been “tied to any goalposts” yet, but he does have to carry a veteran’s shoulder pads and helmet out to the practice field every day. Wagner is dealing with the same chore. I saw him lugging around Leroy Hill’s gear after practice. I have a feeling the worst is yet to come for these guys. If the Seahawks are anything like the Seattle Mariners, the rookies will have to carry around ’Hello Kitty’ backpacks — a right of passage for first-year pitchers on the M’s roster.

Don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t meant to expose the plight of an NFL rookie. These guys are loving every second of this. They’ve worked their entire lives to reach this point. When I asked Korey Toomer if he was having fun at training camp he quickly replied yes, and added that “football is always fun.” Russell Wilson agrees. He repeatedly told me that it’s a blessing for him to be competing in an NFL camp. Even if they don’t earn a starting role or even a roster spot, these guys have reached a pinnacle that most of us can only dream about. They’re in the frickin’ NFL — getting paid to play football.

I’m always down to talk football, so I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment right here or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, and don’t forget you can get more great sports coverage right now on http://allaroundtim.com!