For much of the last decade the Huskies have been one of the premier national powers getting defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft. Perplexingly several of those names have slipped to the 2nd round though such as Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Byron Murphy, and Taylor Rapp.
Fortunately we don’t need to add Trent McDuffie to that list as he was selected 21st overall in the 1st round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Derek Stingley and Sauce Gardner both taken in the first four picks, the corner market boded well for McDuffie. (Sidenote from Gabey editing this piece on draft night: Is “boded” a word? Google says it is but I don’t believe it.) But from there, the position slid until McDuffie was taken 21st by Kansas City.
Throughout the evaluation process McDuffie had always been viewed as one of the top three to five corners in the draft behind Cincinnati’s Gardner and LSU’s Stingley Jr. From an on-field perspective McDuffie came close to Gardner’s level and was certainly more dependable than Stingley, although lacking the same measurables.
He didn’t run as fast as expected at the NFL Combine although he made up for that at his subsequent pro day with better numbers.
There’s also a concern that McDuffie’s arms are shorter than normal for the next level. He played almost exclusively outside at Washington but there are likely some NFL evaluators who believe he would be best suited as a slot corner at his size.
Still, despite not ending up with a lot of interceptions, McDuffie was a star in college.
He finished with a PFF Grade above 80 all three seasons in college and much of the reason for his minimal interception and PBU numbers comes down to the fact that quarterbacks simply stopped throwing at him; he ended the last two years with 2 interceptions and 9 pass break-ups during 2021 and the extremely shortened 2020 season.
Opponents completed 56% of passes at 5.0 yards per attempt with 4 TDs and 2 INTs when McDuffie was in coverage of the target. All of those touchdowns came in McDuffie’s freshman year including a deep ball that I still don’t understand how it was caught by Laviska Shenault. In addition, he’s a very sure tackler who loves to come up and be physical in run support.
Coming out of high school McDuffie was viewed as one of the elite corners on the West Coast. That evaluation proved if anything to be underselling him; by the time Washington finished their 3rd game it was abundantly clear that McDuffie was the 2nd best corner on the team as a true freshman and he never relinquished his starting spot for the rest of his college career.
For more on how McDuffie will translate to the NFL check out our in-depth scouting report on him from Ben Glassmire.
Do good things, don’t do bad things, go Chiefs, and bow down to Washington.