CBs Trent McDuffie, Kaiir Elam boost stocks with solid NFL Combine
Mar 7, 2022, 9:53 AM | Updated: 1:21 pm
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
A pair of young cornerbacks in Washington’s Trent McDuffie and Florida’s Kaiir Elam kept their first-round projections in tact with a strong showing at the 2022 NFL Combine.
McDuffie, who has been among the top prospects being linked to the Cardinals at No. 23 in numerous mock drafts collected by ArizonaSports.com, posted a 4.44 40-yard dash time and measured out at 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds with 8 3/4-inch hands. His footwork was also on display on Sunday.
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2022
He also showed he was a man of the people, signing a football for a young fan following the day of drills.
— Thomas Warren (@tewarren) March 6, 2022
In 11 games last season, McDuffie recorded 35 tackles, 4.0 of which were for losses, a sack and six passes defensed as a sophomore. Per Pro Football Focus, McDuffie did not allow a touchdown to opposing pass catches over the past two seasons (15 games).
“I feel like being able to play games, it’s always going to help you,” McDuffie told reporters Friday. “Getting that exposure to different offenses, different quarterbacks. The big (thing) for me this year was the film study, create an organized plan to really break down teams, break down what offensive coordinators like to do, situational football. And then just going back and having confidence.
“A big part of being a defensive back is confidence, short-term memory. This year, I really tried to display that on the field and just show what I can do.”
In NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks latest mock, the analyst has the Cardinals nabbing McDuffie at No. 23.
And while Elam (11) sits behind McDuffie (12) in the mocked-to-the-Cardinals department by one, the Florida Gator edged out the Husky with a 4.39 40-yard dash time.
Elam measured out at 6-foot-1 and weighs 191 pounds to go along with 8 7/8-inch hands.
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) March 6, 2022
Last season with the Gators (10 games), Elam recorded 29 tackles, 1.5 for losses, an interception and five passes defensed as a junior who prides himself on his ability to play on an island.
“I feel like playing on an island is something nobody in the entire world would ever experience unless you out there,” Elam told reporters Friday. “There’s nothing anybody else can possibly do for you to get that same exact feeling and that excitement. For me, a challenge really motivates me and turns my game up to another level.
“I really get excited being on an island by myself because I feel like I’m better than everybody I play against. I’m looking to dominate you because I know the work that I put in. Not just being cocky or arrogant. I just know the work I put in to really excel and go out there and dominate.”
With the Cardinals in the market for more cornerback depth, there is certainly worse ways to use a first-round draft pick. As of Monday, the only returning cornerbacks that saw extended reps last season are Byron Murphy and 2021 fourth-rounder Marco Wilson. Jace Whittaker and Breon Borders are also on the roster after signing future deals.