Don’t Let Falcons Backup Cornerback’s Silence Fool You

Kendall Sheffield

Getty Todd Gurley II #30 of the Los Angeles Rams rushes against Kendall Sheffield #20 of the Atlanta Falcons.

Prior to the 2020 NFL draft Falcons, head coach Dan Quinn addressed the local media on saying the Falcons already had a potential No. 1 corner in Kendall Sheffield.

Heading into the 2020 season, Sheffield is confident in himself, despite his quiet persona.

“I would say I’m kind of quiet,” Sheffield told Falcons’ beat reporter Kelsey Conway. “The people who are always around me know I can get the job done when it’s time.”

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Falcons Trade-Up for Sheffield

The Falcons traded up six spots with the Detroit Lions last year to select Sheffield in the fourth-round.

In 2015, Sheffield came out of his Texas high school as an All-American and top-five cornerback prospect and signed with Alabama. After deciding he didn’t want to redshirt anymore, he transferred to a local junior college. The Buckeyes picked up Sheffield in 2017 where he played in all 14 games with three starts. He recorded 40 tackles with nine pass breakups.

Sheffield was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick as a junior, posting 35 stops, two interceptions, and eight pass breakups in 14 starts.  He also broke Ohio State’s record with 6.6 60-yard dash in February 2018.

At the end of his collegiate career, Sheffield has accumulated 75 total tackles, 15 pass deflections, two INTs, two forced fumbles.

How Sheffield Got His Rookie Start

Falcons’ primary starter Keanu Neal suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the third week of the season. That’s when Falcons Quinn had to reevaluate what his secondary would look like.

It was then when Quinn shuffled Damantee Kazee over to safety to fill Neal’s spot and put Sheffield at nickel.

Sheffield has a successful first few starts to the point where he became a need and a regular starter.

As a rookie Falcon in 2019, Sheffield started 11 out of the 16 games he played as a rookie and recorded 46 tackles and a forced fumble.

With the release of Desmond Trufant, the Falcons will be expecting a lot more out of him and Dan Quinn made that clear.

Sheffield’s Experience Under His Belt

The good thing is that Sheffield has plenty of experience under him after getting thrown into the fire, but hey that’s how you make it or break it.

Sheffield also told Conway that the transition from college to the NFL wasn’t the easiest because it “took a toll on his body” at 24-years-old. However, he’s learned now how to navigate through the long season and take care of his body.

He hasn’t only been healing his body this offseason, but he’s been training his mind so he isn’t as overwhelmed as he was last year. I think people often forget that athletes are real humans too and their job isn’t easy.

Coach Quinn hasn’t told Sheffield where he’ll be playing as far as to nickel or on the outside goes, but he’ll be as ready as he was last season.

“I’m very excited for the team, our defense, especially myself as well,” Sheffield said. “I feel like we’re going to have a great team this year.”

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