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Rookie Corners Go Head To Head In Atlanta

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Atlanta CB Desmond Trufant has the speed and pedigree to be a starter in the NFL, but will fellow rookie corner Robert Alford's coverage skills cost him the starting gig? Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
Atlanta CB Desmond Trufant has the speed and pedigree to be a starter in the NFL, but will fellow rookie corner Robert Alford's coverage skills cost him the starting gig? Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.

Football season is back in Atlanta and fans are eager to find out the starting lineup for this season. The biggest question that remains unanswered is the identity of who the starting cornerback alongside Asante Samuel in the season opener against the Saints will be.

Two talented rookies are competing against each other and both are looking to put more pressure on opposing receivers in a pass-happy NFC South. They can provide a boost to a defensive unit that was ranked near the bottom in opponent yards per game last season. Not to mention they are filling in a void left by head-hunting DB Dunta Robinson, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. I would rather have at least one of the rookies who can cover the likes of Saints WR Marques Colston and Panthers WR Steve Smith than keep a player who makes headlines moreso with helmet-to-helmet hits.

On one hand, CB Desmond Trufant has the speed to cover fast receivers and the ability to make game changing plays. Plus he is in a family of defensive backs which includes 2007 Pro Bowl CB Marcus Trufant, prompting fans to set the bar high for the rookie this season. However, I do not know if Trufant is ready to start right away just yet. Trufant had a hard time covering wide receivers in college and scouts were not impressed with his technique. He may need at least half of a season to develop his skills before making the starting lineup. But do not count him out yet because with his speed, the Falcons can make him a return man.

The other challenger to the right cornerback position is second-rounder Robert Alford. He can start at either traditional corner or nickel back right away because of his tackling abilities and his 4.4 40-time speed. Alford is also reported to have a strong work ethic, according to his former college coach. That is a plus for the Falcons, since they are a team that values good character. And unlike Trufant, the former Southeastern Louisiana corner covered receivers more consistently.

Because of versatility and his ability to cover, Alford is more suited to start right now. But do not worry - both Alford and Trufant will create chaos for opposing receivers for years to come as long as they shine week after week.

Which one of the two youngsters is more NFL ready and more likely to start for the Falcons in 2013? Feel free to comment below and start the debate!