Trent McDuffie, Washington CB | NFL Draft Scouting Report

A quick learner and a quicker player, Washington CB Trent McDuffie's NFL Draft scouting report has legitimate Round 1 potential.

Does the University of Washington have a claim for the “DBU” title? Perhaps not yet, but Washington CB Trent McDuffie can help further strengthen the team’s reputation in the 2022 NFL Draft. McDuffie’s scouting report runs parallel to past Huskies cornerbacks like Desmond Trufant, Marcus Peters, and Kevin King. Can McDuffie follow their lead and crack the draft’s early stages?

Trent McDuffie NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Cornerback
  • School: Washington
  • Current Year: Junior
  • Height: 5’10 3/4″
  • Weight: 193 pounds
  • Wingspan: 72 3/8″
  • Arm: 29 3/4″
  • Hand: 8 3/4″

Trent McDuffie Scouting Report

Washington may not be “DBU,” but it’s one of the better schools in the nation for developing talent in the secondary. The school’s prowess runs back to 2007, when future All-Pro Dashon Goldson went in Round 4 to the 49ers. Since then, 10 Washington defensive backs have been selected in the NFL Draft: Trufant, Peters, King, Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Jordan Miller, Elijah Molden, and Keith Taylor.

Much of that success can be traced to current Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake, who became the team’s defensive backs coach in 2014. Lake played a direct role in developing players like Peters, King, Baker, and Jones. And in the 2022 NFL Draft, McDuffie might become the next Huskies DB to command an early selection. He’s been severely underrated to this point and has the traits to ascend.

McDuffie’s Combine/pro day results and athletic profile

  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.44
  • Bench Press: 15
  • Broad Jump: 10′ 8″
  • Vertical Jump: 38.5″

My official comp for McDuffie is a powder keg. The referees may want to check for jet turbines under the Washington CB’s socks because McDuffie moves with an unfair amount of explosiveness. Hyperbole aside, McDuffie is truly in the highest tier athletically. His elite explosiveness is visible in multiple phases. He has searing quickness charging the backfield, with the vertical burst to rise up for high passes. His explosiveness translates to spry, sudden feet at the line of scrimmage.

Furthermore, McDuffie is a quick-twitch athlete with a ton of potential energy stored in his frame. He owns the lateral suddenness to slip past blocks, and his twitch and explosion allow him to recover ground against double-moves swiftly. He also has unreal range when pursuing plays.

Beyond his explosiveness, McDuffie’s athletic profile remains strong. He’s fluid flipping his hips upfield and has the long speed to stick to receivers’ hip pockets. Additionally, McDuffie channels his athletic traits very well. He transfers his weight with ease, stacking foot motions effortlessly. His footwork is effervescent, composed, and meticulous. It allows him to use his athleticism with dangerous efficiency and lock down WRs in soft-shoe press.

Execution beyond the physical traits

McDuffie’s athleticism is what makes his game so unique. However, he isn’t just an athletic project. He’s a legitimate early-round cornerback prospect with the intangibles to match. The Washington CB is smarter than his experience level would indicate, and that’s apparent when watching his tape.

McDuffie is an energetic tackler. He’s not tentative by any means, and he possesses an explosive burst leading into the contact point. The Washington CB takes care not to overshoot angles in pursuit, and he has the ability to force fumbles and generate turnovers in these situations. McDuffie plays at full speed and provides maximum effort, and his tackling reps show this well. But he’s also a sure tackler. He uses his entire frame and envelops opponents.

In coverage, McDuffie is similarly proficient. He’s willing to be physical in press, and he matches aggression from receivers. With his strong footwork, the Washington product is hard to get off-balance with releases at the line.

Downfield, he’s able to track his receiver while keeping his eyes on the quarterback, and he has the awareness to double back when he sees an open receiver underneath. McDuffie shows the ability to adapt his focus as the play develops, alluding to impressive natural instincts.

Areas for improvement

McDuffie’s NFL Draft scouting report is brimming with upside, and there are few flaws overall. However, there are some mitigating factors to take into account for the Washington CB.

Most notably, McDuffie’s frame is somewhat slight for NFL standards. His size can make it difficult for him to disengage in run defense, and he doesn’t have much natural strength at the contact point. He can convert his explosiveness to power, but he’s not often going to have a size advantage over other players. McDuffie can also get outmuscled by larger blockers and receivers, and he gets lost in congestion sometimes.

Expanding on his size, McDuffie’s length is subpar from a proportional standpoint. His middling length and strength prevent him from consistently disrupting releases in press. Additionally, his ball production is somewhat lacking to this point, which may raise more questions about his reach. McDuffie does flash high-point ability and ball skills at the catch point. He improved there in 2021, but he’s still not the largest defender.

Among other things, McDuffie could help improve his spacing in zone coverage. He also reverts to body tackling at times, failing to wrap up with his arms. His versatility might also be a question to some. However, McDuffie gained experience in the slot in high school and moved around a bit more in 2021.

McDuffie’s NFL Draft scouting report overview

McDuffie’s size is one of the only things keeping him from being a potential top-20 prospect. That’s not to say that he is small. Still, in a class with Kaiir Elam, Derek Stingley Jr., and Ahmad Gardner — all of whom are over 6’1″ — McDuffie’s size can be considered below-average. Size is an active strength for players like Elam and Gardner. For McDuffie, it’s not.

Nevertheless, McDuffie is an elite athletic talent with the explosiveness, fluidity, and speed to be a terror in pass defense. He also owns the physicality and fast play pace to make things happen in run defense. Moreover, McDuffie increased his ball production in 2021 and proved he could convert at the catch point. That, combined with his multi-phase utility, strong instincts, and high-end athleticism, makes him a bona fide early-round prospect.

McDuffie’s Player Profile

McDuffie’s physical traits are often the subject of awe. This past June, he put up a 41.5-inch vertical jump. Even in high school, he had elite athletic traits relative to his counterparts, with a 4.47 40-yard dash and a 35.5-inch vertical jump at the time. However, what truly separated McDuffie might have been his composure and mental quickness.

Before the end of his high school career, McDuffie transferred to St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California — a school known for its production of college football talent. It often takes time for players to learn the team’s coverages and schemes at St. John Bosco, but McDuffie wasted no time learning and eventually applying.

“He’s a sponge,” McDuffie’s high school coach Jason Negro said at one point. “He’s going to absorb as much as he possibly can, and he’s going to take the coaching and not look at it as criticism. He understands the difference between criticism and coaching.”

McDuffie’s amalgamation of physical and mental traits led to increased interest on the recruiting trail. Listed as a four-star recruit in the 2019 class, McDuffie received offers on the table from Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Notre Dame. But he ultimately chose to remain on the West Coast, signing with the Washington Huskies.

McDuffie’s career at Washington and NFL Draft ascension

McDuffie enrolled at Washington in 2019 and quickly made a strong impression on the coaching staff. He hit the ground running for the Huskies, starting 11 of 13 games in his true-freshman season. Over that span, the Washington CB accrued 45 total tackles, 1 interception, 2 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles. He earned consideration for Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year, gaining notoriety as a rising star on the CFB stage.

2020 was supposed to be McDuffie’s breakout, but COVID-19 complications shortened the Pac-12’s season to four games. Nevertheless, McDuffie still managed to produce in limited action. Across the Huskies’ four-game slate, he registered 14 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and a half-tackle for loss. For his play, he received second-team All-Pac-12 recognition.

McDuffie had his best season yet in 2021. He earned 35 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, a sack, and a career-high 6 pass deflections. He earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors along with teammate Kyler Gordon, catapulting himself toward the 2022 NFL Draft with searing momentum. McDuffie is a legit first-round talent. With his instincts and scheme versatility, he’s sure to win over evaluators.

Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Trent McDuffie

Positives: Athletic corner with next-level ball skills. Engages receivers at the line of scrimmage, quickly flips his hips in transition, and runs downfield with opponents. Stays with assignments, effectively covers receivers on crossing patterns, and displays a burst to the ball.

Keeps the action in front of him, works to get his head back around to locate the pass, and effectively times pass defenses. Effective backed off the line of scrimmage and shows the ability to drive to the ball out of his plant. Fires up the field and gives effort defending screen passes.

Negatives: Not a stout cornerback. Struggles recognizing routes in zone coverage and gets tripped up. Loses out to bigger receivers.

Analysis: McDuffie is a shutdown corner who has shown tremendous potential as well as progress in his game. He offers ability backed off the line of scrimmage or in man coverage and only needs to get a little stronger. Nevertheless, he should be starting early in his NFL career.

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @ian_cummings_9