ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals nab CB Trent McDuffie at No. 23 in McShay’s post-combine mock draft

Mar 9, 2022, 12:45 PM

The Seattle Seahawks trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos sure put the NFL in a frenzy on Tuesday.

For NFL Draft analysts like ESPN’s Todd McShay, the deal signaled a good time to throw out a post-combine mock given how the NFL landscape shifted a day ago.

And despite having one less franchise quarterback in the NFC West to deal with, McShay has the Cardinals bolstering their secondary by drafting Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.

McDuffie is smooth and stays with receivers so well. He can identify routes, turned in a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the combine and flashes the ability to make plays on the ball. And this would be the value pick of the night, because McDuffie isn’t expected to wait this long for his name to be called.

McShay points to the team’s struggles to contain opponents through the air during its late-season falloff in 2021 as a prime reason to take the corner in the first round.

Over the final five games of the regular season, Arizona allowed 236.8 yards per game and 14 total touchdowns on 68.5% passing. The defense was far less advantageous in the backend of 2021, recording just one interception and nine sacks on its way to a 1-4 mark.

There’s also the fact that the Cardinals are very thin at cornerback.

Outside of starters Byron Murphy and 2021 four-rounder Marco Wilson, Arizona has just Jace Whittaker and Breon Borders, two players who spent most of their time on the practice squad last season, on the depth chart. Robert Alford and Antonio Hamilton, two corners that saw extended roles last year, are set to test free agency.

Last season as a sophomore (11 games), 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).

There’s also the Washington connection to consider, with former Huskies Budda Baker and Murphy representing a pair of Cardinals second-round picks in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

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