Cornerback Desmond Trufant had four interceptions last season in the nine games he played. That was more than half of all the interceptions (7) for the Detroit Lions' defense in 16 contests a year ago. Those seven interceptions tied for the fewest in the NFL.
The Lions have been on the lookout this offseason for players who can get their hands on the football in the backend. When they needed a cornerback after it became clear trading cornerback Darius Slay was their best option in his contract situation, signing former Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant made sense.
Trufant, 29, who was drafted 13 spots ahead of Slay in 2013, recorded those four interceptions last season despite playing in just nine games due to a shoulder injury. He said in a conference call Thursday with Detroit media that he thought he was playing some of the best football of his career before the injury last season.
"I just want to reach my potential, as far as me playing at my highest level, for the rest of my career," Trufant said. "That's just what I want to be while I'm on the field. And only I'll know that. Only I know when I'm playing my best, maximizing all of my opportunities."
He feels he was playing good football last year, and hopes to pick up where he left off before his injury.
"I was making a lot of big plays," he said. "I've done that throughout my career. I'm just going to try and continue that and take it up even more."
Trufant's started all 97 games he's played over the last seven seasons, and has defended 79 passes with 13 career interceptions.
He believes he's stepping into a good situation with the Lions, an opportunity to continue to be a key contributor in a scheme and situation he thinks fit him perfectly.
"I just got a lot of respect for (Matt Patricia)," Trufant said. "He's had a lot of success in this league, coached a lot of great players, especially a lot of great players at my position. I know I can fit right into his scheme. He's going to give me the opportunity to do me. To showcase my talent. I'm just looking forward to it."
Trufant joins Justin Coleman and Amani Oruwariye as Detroit's top three cornerbacks, but there could still be more additions to the position via the remainder of free agency or next month's NFL Draft.