2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trent McDuffie

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trent McDuffie

by March 6, 2022 3 comments

The cornerback landscape in this year’s NFL Draft appears to be loaded with talent. Thanks to that, some names have been pushed aside more than usual. Trent McDuffie could be considered one of those getting on and off recognition. While not the flashiest corner to ever play the game, he is one of two highly looked upon Washington corners in this draft. His counterpart, Kyler Gordon, is about to get all the hype after he (presumably) puts up absurd NFL Combine numbers. Even with all that going on, fans should not forget about McDuffie, who we are about to breakdown in full. 

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Trent McDuffie
Jersey: No. 22
Position: Cornerback
School: Washington
Class: Junior
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 195 lbs

Games Watched: Oregon (2021), Michigan (2021), Oregon State (2020)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Man Coverage (14/15)

Hailing from St. John Bosco High School, McDuffie played in a zone scheme at Washington, primarily. However, that does not mean he is well-polished in zone coverage. McDuffie is the definition of a technician. He knows how to read routes exceptionally well and has constantly got his eyes on the receiver’s hips. When watching him operate in man coverage, something that kept coming to mind was that he is in control. There were never any glaring issues, and wide receivers were often shut down with ease  when faced with him.

McDuffie’s man coverage has also come in levels. Working vertically, he often never allows a guy to get open. However, the cornerback can struggle a little more when going laterally with drag routes because he’ll most likely be coming down from off-man coverage. This issue is minimal, though, and you’d only like to see McDuffie get a bigger sample size in man coverage before you can call him elite. 

Zone Coverage (13.75/15)

This is another area where we will preach McDuffie’s IQ. The California native operated almost all of his reps out of zone, which is a leg-up on this draft’s predominant number of man-coverage corners. McDuffie is most comfortable in deep zones. Here, he scans out the field and always makes the correct decision as to where to attack. However, it’s not just the deep zones he does well in. He’s shown a nice ability in filtering out receivers on short and intermediate zones. The one knock is you would like McDuffie to be a little more decisive. He always gets to the right spot, but would need more immediacy. 

Instincts (9.25/10)

We have been hinting at it for quite some time, but this is McDuffie’s best trait. Putting the small weakness of reacting quicker in zone aside, McDuffie is a football wiz. The way in which he is able to read, locate, and understand every moving part of the game is impressive. Again, not the flashiest corner out there, but teams will draft him early because of those smarts. 

Ball Skills (6.75/10)

Standing at 5-foot-11, McDuffie cannot go up and disrupt the high point of the catch against bigger receivers. In addition, he has seriously lacked production in this area throughout his career. McDuffie wrapped up two interceptions throughout his three years and eight passes defended. While this is a mix of not getting targeted often, there is also not enough to make a final verdict on McDuffie’s ball skills. 

Press/Physicality (5.5/10)

McDuffie was almost never tasked with pressing, nor being physical. When this happens, we need to judge how a player attacks the ball. Is he physical and almost bullies the receiver? Or will he shy away and not be able to defend the pass? For McDuffie, it’s a little bit of both. The Washington product has a slender frame; thus, he is not going to be the strongest player naturally. With that being said, McDuffie does his best to be scrappy. However, it may not be a strong suit of his in the NFL. 

Long Speed (8.75/10)

Due to the fact that McDuffie plays zone coverage and off-man coverage so often, it is hard to judge his long speed. The 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine will give us a better thought on how quick the defensive back actually is, but he has the looks of a player with more than adequate long speed. On the few go routes McDuffie was tested on, he got beat on an initial burst but fought back and chased down the receiver in pursuit. This is an area that will become a strength at the next level. 

Tackling/Run Support (7.75/10)

At first glance, this grade started off a lot lower than what it arrived at. Against Oregon, McDuffie whiffed badly on his first tackle attempt. However, he cleaned it up very nicely with several wrap up, textbook tackles later in that game. Another thing to note is that McDuffie is a tackler that teammates rally around. This shows leadership and energy he can bring to any NFL defensive unit. 

Athleticism (8.5/10)

We touched on this earlier, but we cannot reach a verdict on McDuffie’s full athleticism without those combine measurements. He is a player that no one really knows where he will test, unlike those surefire combine warriors. If McDuffie does well this week, we could bump this grade up a point, but if he does poorly, he will likely fall way past where anyone initially expected, due to the large-scale talent pool at corner this year. 

Change of Direction (4.75/5)

One could describe McDuffie as twitchy. When he is in control of the route and knows exactly where the receiver is going, he flips his hips with ease. McDuffie isn’t going to blow you away with speed, but his hip fluidity and movement ability make up for any speed that he may lack (although there’s not much lacking). 

Length (3.5/5)

Another topic mentioned earlier. Without the largest stature of any cornerback, McDuffie is stuck in an interesting grey area. His arms seem long, and he plays with good length, but then the discussion turns to outside or slot. Many have bulletined McDuffie as a slot corner because of this length. However, his primary reps have come on the outside. This is where the biggest debate about McDuffie comes into play for his future, and only time will tell what an NFL team decides to do with him. 

Player Summary

As you may have gathered, McDuffie is a very polarizing player to grade. Washington’s primary zone- and off-man coverage scheme have left question marks in his play. That being said, he is still a gifted corner with intelligence that is off the charts. As for projections, McDuffie has been mocked in the first and second rounds. This is an accurate projection for his talents, but it needs to be to the right team. All in all, if McDuffie is placed in the right system, he can be a starting corner in the NFL for years to come, whether outside or in the slot. 

Rookie Projection: Rotational Slot/Outside Cornerback

Third-Year Projection: Starting Slot Cornerback

Player Grade (82.5/100): Mid-Second Round

Player Comparison: Taron Johnson

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