Trufant on Neal: ‘Sky is the limit for him’

May 6, 2016 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons first round draft pick Keanu Neal (22) and other rookies run drills during the first day of 2016 Atlanta Falcons Rookie Minicamp at the Falcons’ Flowery Branch Headquarters Complex on Friday, May 6, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
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May 6, 2016 Flowery Branch - Atlanta Falcons first round draft pick Keanu Neal (22) and other rookies run drills during the first day of 2016 Atlanta Falcons Rookie Minicamp at the Falcons’ Flowery Branch Headquarters Complex on Friday, May 6, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, who started right away as a rookie in the NFL, has been impressed with safety Keanu Neal.

The Falcons selected Neal with the 17th pick in the NFL draft. Trufant was drafted 22nd overall in 2013 and has made 48 consecutive starts. He reached the Pro Bowl last season.

“He can move with the best of them. That’s what I was really impressed with,” Trufant said of Neal. “He just has to continue to grow mentally and things like that, but he’s looking good.”

Trufant struggled at times during his first OTAs. But he believes Neal can be ready to start by the season opener, which is Sept. 11 at home against Tampa Bay in the Georgia Dome.

“It’s just reps,” Trufant said. “Safety is kind of a complex position for a rookie because that’s kind of like the quarterback of the defense. It’s just going take time, but that’s what OTAs, minicamp and training camp are for. By the time the season comes, he’s going to be right where he needs to be.”

Trufant knows that Neal is suffering from information overload.

“It’s always like that as a rookie, but he’s looking good,” Trufant said. “I’m very impressed with his movement skills. He looks like a corner out there with his footwork. The sky is the limit for him.”