Washington CB Is More than a Consolation Prize
After adding Za´Darius Smith, Jordan Hicks, and Harrison Phillips in free agency, it is more likely that the Minnesota Vikings will draft a cornerback in the first round of the NFL draft to upgrade the biggest weakness of the roster.
Washington defensive back Trent McDuffie is certainly an enticing option for Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with the 12th overall pick in April´s draft.
Born and raised in California, McDuffie attended St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California, the same school as Minnesota´s 2021 third-round pick, Wyatt Davis. He was teammates with Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. ESPN and 247sports.com had the four-star recruit ranked in the 130s in his recruiting class. The talented athlete accepted the offer from the Washington Huskies over multiple offers, including Alabama. The Minnesota Golden Gophers made him an offer, too.
Trent McDuffie played in 27 games in his college career. As a true freshman in 2019, he allowed 339 yards, four touchdowns, and a passer rating of 94.3. In his final two seasons, the cornerback allowed only 163 yards and no touchdowns. That resulted in a passer rating when targeted of just 52. After the conclusion of his junior year, McDuffie earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors.
When watching McDuffie´s film, his moving skills immediately attract attention. The Washinton cornerback is a very fluid athlete. As a result of possessing speed and agility at a very high level, he can easily follow receivers on their routes.
His combination of man and zone coverage skills is the best in the draft. He can play in either coverage scheme without a problem. His ball skills are above average but not great. Because McDuffie wins most reps mid-route, the good but not great ball skills are not a problem.
Weaknesses & Concerns
The star defensive back has big-run support and tackling problems and, therefore, needs to improve his technique. Otherwise, NFL coaches will have a hard time relying on him. It is a common and fixable problem for young cornerbacks. He is not the biggest cornerback, so his size raised some concerns among draft experts. He was measured at five feet and eleven inches and almost 200 pounds, combined with very short arms.
Draft and Career Outlook
My grade for him: 87.5 – mid-first-round pick. He did not get a significant downgrade for his measurements at the combine. His tape is flawless, and it did not seem to be an issue. His height and weight are close to Packers star cornerback Jaire Alexander. In addition, they have similar explosiveness, and consequently, McDuffie´s pro comparison is an obvious one. Trent McDuffie plays a position of need, and if the Vikings end up drafting him, they get a day one starter at that position while simultaneously fixing a lot of their problems. He is far more than a consolation prize for teams that miss out on LSU´s Derek Stingley Jr. and Cincinnati´s Ahmad Gardner.
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