In an effort to improve their secondary, the Atlanta Falcons shipped merely a seventh-round pick to the Eagles for cornerback Asante Samuel. So far, it looks like the Falcons pulled off the kind of steal for which the Eagles had become notorious.
According to Dave Campbell of the Associated Press, Samuel made a real impression in the Falcons’ first full-squad practice of the 2012 offseason.
“Asante I thought did about the same thing he has done to me for four years,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “He made a good pick. He’s going to make us better. Specifically I think he’ll make myself and our wide receivers better going against him and Dunta [Robinson] and [Brent] Grimes every day as corners. It’s going to be good work for us.”
The plan is to move Robinson to the slot, with Grimes and Samuel on the outside. “I have a preference,” Samuel said. “I want to be on the left side. I’m a left corner but I’ll do anything I can to help the team. This is a right-handed league and I want to be where the ball is coming.”
Samuel played both sides on Tuesday, and he was eager to show off. “Can I get some action out here?” Samuel yelled at one point while on the practice field. “Am I out here for my health? I want to show the people what I can do!”
After intercepting a Ryan pass, Samuel pointed to his jersey and said, “Deuce Deuce right here.”
Asked after practice about his desire to get “some action,” Samuel was brash. “And I got some right?” Samuel said. “That’s what you’ve got to do, put the bull’s-eye on your shoulder and step up to the plate. That’s how you get better.”
Robinson thinks Samuel’s energy may have surprised some members of the offense.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Robinson said. “It makes practice fun. All the talk, all the yelling. I can tell the offensive guys weren’t very used to it. They didn’t know how to take it. But it was a lot of fun.
“You look across the board and it’s myself, it’s Brent and it’s Asante and you’re like wow. If we do what we’re supposed to do, we can be a very dangerous secondary.”
The secondary recently has been dangerous, to the Falcons. For the team to truly contend in the NFC, that needs to change.