Leading up to the draft, we will profile several players who have been linked to the Ravens. Today's subject is Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.
Versatility Is One of McDuffie's Strengths
Washington used McDuffie as both an outside and nickel corner, and that versatility will be an asset in the NFL. The Ravens have two of the league's top cornerbacks in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, but both are coming off season-ending injuries. McDuffie would add depth as an outside corner and his ability to play nickel would make him a possible replacement for Tavon Young, who was released this offseason. No matter where he lined up in college, McDuffie had an aggressive nature and quarterbacks who threw in his direction were taking a chance.
McDuffie Has Solid Technique Playing Man-to-Man and Zone
The Huskies played plenty of man-to-man coverage, and they had another outstanding corner in Kyler Gordon who will also be drafted next week. McDuffie breaks to the ball quickly and has good ball skills, and he rarely made mistakes in coverage. Baltimore heads into the draft needing cornerback depth, and McDuffie could see plenty of playing time as a rookie. NFL Network's Brian Baldinger said McDuffie's technique holds up under pressure.
McDuffie Plays Bigger Than His Size
McDuffie, Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are generally considered the top three cornerback prospects in the draft. Listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, McDuffie is the smallest of the three, but nobody questions his toughness. In his most recent mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had the Ravens going with McDuffie at No. 14, and listed his tackling ability as one of his strengths. McDuffie had 25 solo tackles last season and 37 solo tackles as a freshman in 2019.
On “The Lounge” podcast, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said McDuffie is likely a safer bet than Stingley, who is immensely talented but hasn't been as durable. "He's just a really, really good football player," Jeremiah said. "He put better tape out there the last two years than Stingley has."
His Maturity Is Impressive
McDuffie handled himself well during his media session at the NFL Combine, and apparently did the same when he met privately with teams. Albert Breer of Sport Illustrated said teams were impressed with McDuffie maturity and football IQ.
"You hear the way this kid just knocked his meetings out of the park, and I'm not talking about one or two teams," Breer said via nbcsports.com. "It's every single team I've talked to has said the guy's Mensa level when it comes to explaining football, explaining what he was doing out there, you see the versatility. Again, didn't play heavy man for a first-round corner in college, but has experience having played both, so you have that versatility."
Peters Would Be a Natural Mentor for McDuffie
Peters was also a star cornerback at Washington, so he'd likely enjoy taking a young cornerback from his school under his wing. A master at reading quarterbacks and wide receivers, Peters has plenty of knowledge to share. McDuffie would love to be the next Washington corner to make an impact in the NFL, joining Peters, who a first-round pick by the Chiefs in 2015, and Desmond Trufant, who was a Falcons first-round pick in 2013.