The position thinned during the offseason when starting cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins was released, and took a significant blow during training camp with the abrupt retirement of cornerback Patrick Robinson, who was expected to play a significant role.
Rookie Paulson Adebo and veteran Ken Crawley primarily have been lining up at left cornerback, opposite right cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Trufant, a first-round pick by Atlanta in 2013, has started 103 regular-season games and has 14 interceptions, 83 passes defensed, seven fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and 346 tackles. Last season, with Detroit, he had an interception and four passes defensed in six starts.
"We needed to add depth at that position," Payton said. "But he's from our division, we've seen a lot of him over the years. I like his experience, I think he's a smart player. We've just got to bring him up to speed quickly here."
With the addition of Trufant, New Orleans released running back Latavius Murray, who had two seasons as a Saint and in 15 starts and 31 regular-season games, ran for 1,293 yards and nine touchdowns on 29 carries, and caught 57 passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns.
But Murray's role diminished once Tony Jones Jr. stood out in training camp and the preseason. Jones ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and caught six passes for 42 yards in two preseason games.
"It's a credit to Tony," Payton said. "He battled and earned that No. 2 spot.
"Obviously, I've got strong feelings toward Latavius. He's been real important for us, someone that has really given us a lot of good snaps and has been a great teammate. We'll see where this takes us, but in fairness to the process, Tony was someone that just really stood out throughout the preseason."