Trufant earned Pro Bowl honors in 2015 and was in the midst of another excellent campaign before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 9.
The 26-year-old signed a five-year, $69-million extension in April, and believes he should be regarded in the same class as Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, and others who are routinely considered among the league’s elite cornerbacks.
“I feel I’m in the conversation (of top cornerbacks in the NFL),” Trufant told Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated in early June. “It is what it is because everyone has their own opinion of who’s the best and who’s the top guy. I know for a fact that every Sunday the opposing team is planning for me. They know I’m out there and that I can be a game-changer. That’s really how I look at it.
“Everybody else has their opinions and that’s cool. I’m not discrediting nothing, but I know when I line up that the opposing receiver is going to respect what I’m doing. It’s that simple for me.”
Trufant is expected to lead a Falcons secondary that made significant progress without him. Keanu Neal, Jalen Collins, and Robert Alford formed the nucleus of a potentially dominant group before losing in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots.
Now that he’s landed a lucrative extension, Trufant is ready to dominate opposing wide receivers once again.
“They always test you, regardless if you’re making $1 or making millions,” Trufant said. “That’s just how the game goes if you’re playing my position. I’m looking forward to it, though.”
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