Notebook: Desmond Trufant trying to make a name for himself at cornerback

Posted Jan 22, 2013

Desmond, younger brother of former pro Marcus and current New York Jets pro Isaiah, is trying to pave his own way at this year's Senior Bowl

Jonathan Cyrpien

Desmond Trufant was 11 years old when he watched his brother Marcus play in the Senior Bowl in 2003 after a stellar college career at Washington State.

Fast-forward 10 years and it's now defensive back Desmond trying to impress NFL coaches, scouts and front office personnel at this year's Senior Bowl.

Marcus, who was drafted No. 11 overall by the Seahawks in 2003 and earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2008, was in attendance this week to lend a little support to his little brother.

"Right now I think he's riding high," older brother said of the younger. "He's clicking on all cylinders and making it happen."

Isaiah Trufant, the middle brother, has played for the Jets the past three seasons.

Desmond Trufant has stood out over the first two practices for the North squad, showing terrific quickness and cover ability in both man-to-man and zone concepts.

"He's got that moxie and swagger and I like that that," said Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who is coaching the North squad for Saturday's Senior Bowl. "He believes he should be in the NFL and I like that about him."

Most draft analysts have Trufant (5-11, 190) coming off the board somewhere in the second round, but he's turned some heads this week with his play. He's certainly trending upward.

He has good size and plays physical. He's been the best cornerback on the North squad through the first two days of practice.

"It's been a lot of help having my older brother here to help me through the process," Desmond said.

"I just need to get my hands on the ball a little bit more and stay aggressive. I'm staying patient in my technique and I think I'm doing pretty good."


During his rookie season in 2009, in a non-contact drill in a training camp practice, Louis Delmas introduced himself to his new teammates by laying out a receiver over the middle of the field.

The hit nearly caused a fight.

When asked about it after practice, Delmas said he just loved contact.

Same thing goes for Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien, who's been more than willing to lay a shoulder or helmet on ball carriers during light contact drills during the North practices.

"When it comes to making contact and collisions with guys, I try my best to bring them down," Cyprien said after practice Tuesday. "Tackling is one of the fundamentals of the game and you start with fundamentals to be a great player."

Coincidentally, Cyprien hails from the same part of Miami (North Miami Beach) and played at the same high school as Delmas. Cyprien said he taylors his game after three safeties: Delmas, Sean Taylor and Troy Polamalu.

Cyprien actually got in contact with Delmas before coming up to the Senior Bowl for some advice.

"He told me just to go over there and believe in myself," Cyprien said. "I think I've done that."

Cyprien's style of play is very similar to Delmas' and there are question as to whether his 6-foot, 210-pound frame can hold up playing that kind of physical brand of football in the NFL. It's the same kind of questions Delmas is now answering after missing 13 games over the last two seasons.

"I like his toughness and aggressiveness and he showed some range out there," Allen said of Cyprien, who's considered a mid-round pick at this point.


After observing the North practice led by the Oakland Raiders coaching staff for the first time on Tuesday, it's certainly more physical than practices led by the Lions' coaching staff with the South squad.

"When they said 'full gear' I thought I was bringing people down," Cyprien said of North practice. "I had my head ready. I make sure I give them a little pop."

There were a few nice hits at the North practice despite them being in shorts with shoulder pads and helmets.

Both squads will be in full pads on Wednesday, which means the hitting should ramp up for both squads.


• SMU defensive end Margus Hunt certainly stands out in a huddle. He'll be the one a helmet taller than everyone else. At 6-foot-8, 277 pounds, Hunt doesn't have the traditional frame of most NFL edge rushers.

He registered eight sacks for SMU this past season but looks a little out of place against some more elite talent down at tackle down here. With that big of a frame, tackles are finding it easier to get their hands into Hunt's body and disrupt his rush.

• UCLA punter Jeff Locke was impressive Tuesday. Considered one of the top two punters available in April's draft, the left-footed punter boomed a few and had nice hang time. There will be a team that drafts him late.