"I think going against Julio and Roddy every day in one-on-ones is getting me better because both of them are Pro Bowl-caliber receivers," Alford said. "I'm going against the best, and I think that's the one thing I can do to help me get better as a player."
Alford is listed behind starting left cornerback Asante Samuel on the depth chart. Trufant is challenging Robert McClain for the starting job at right cornerback.
Samuel, a brash veteran renowned for shouting his confidence in practice, is helping both rookies adjust on the field and in the film room.
"He's been in the league 10 years," Alford said. "He's been to the Pro Bowl. He's had a bunch of interceptions and a bunch of rings from playing with the New England Patriots. I'm learning a lot from him every day."
NOTES: Smith announced that training camp will begin July 25 with an afternoon workout that is open to the public. ... He added that the Falcons will not tackle until their annual Friday Night Lights event one week after camp starts. This year's event is being held at City Park in Gainesville, Ga. ... Samuel (ankle) and S Thomas DeCoud (groin) didn't participate in the final practice of minicamp for precautionary reasons. Smith said neither injury was serious and he wanted to give some of the younger defensive backs a longer look anyway. ... TE Tony Gonzalez wasn't required to be at the minicamp — part of his contract to play another season instead of retiring. ... DE Osi Umenyiora was excused from Thursday's workout after practicing the previous two days. RB Jason Snelling also missed the two-hour practice after the death of his grandmother. ... The only injury concern is rookie DE Stansly Maponga, a fifth-round draft pick from TCU. He is still recovering from March ankle surgery and may be limited at the start of training camp, Smith said. ... FB Bradie Ewing has fully recovered from knee surgery that kept him out all of last season.
AP sports writer Paul Newberry contributed to this report.
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