Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie spends four and a half hours A NIGHT watching film. That translates, on average, to about four games each session and spans the gamut between his own games, along with tape of past and present players.
Quite simply, he’s football-obsessed.
That’s translated onto the field with McDuffie boasting one of the most versatile skill sets of any defensive back in this draft class. Calling him a corner might even be classified as blasphemy.
“I’m a student of the game,” McDuffie said. “I love to learn. I want to break down film every single day of the week. And also I play as if I’m a linebacker. I’m a defender. I can tackle, I want to tackle, I love to tackle. I love to get in the mix. I love to be in the box. They just tell our coaches all the time, put me at safety, let me just go run the alley, let me go take on these linemen. I’m a competitor, I love to compete and at the end of the day I want to win. I like to win games. And that’s what I’m trying to do when I go to the NFL and help these organizations get to the Super Bowl.”
He’s a self-proclaimed ‘safety head’ as well, growing up watching the likes of Charles Woodson, Ed Reed, and Brian Dawkins.
Yeah, he’s that kind of safety head. He’s got all the tools of a corner, whether in man or zone coverage, and on top of that he loves getting into the box and showing off his physicality. A player with a high football IQ, a maniacal work ethic, who just wants to hit people? Say less.
That’s why relegating him to one position just feels wrong. But that’s not to say that he doesn’t belong at his already designated corner spot—no matter what scheme he enters into. He was part of a diverse scheme for the Huskies—a pro-style defense that has produced more than a few current NFL starters.
“I’ve played in both man and zone coverage for the past three years,” said McDuffie. “Even in high school, we played a little bit of zone. Zone coverage to me is pretty easy. It’s almost like all you got to do is honestly have great eyes. The biggest thing in zone coverage is your eyes, reading the keys, reading two to one, things like that. And that’s something that I’ve developed a lot at [Washington] because we do a lot of peripheral vision. My field of vision is super good now. I feel like I can do very well in a zone-type defense. But I can also put a man down every single day.”
Yeah, he can. Because wait until you hear his philosophy on playing man coverage.
“First off is your technique,” he said. “It’s understanding what the receivers gonna get you. Being super patient getting that off-hand jam they always talk about and then it’s a confidence. It’s knowing that yeah, you’re man to man. The receiver may know the route but so may you. But at the end of the day as a DB, it’s your job to get the ball out, it’s your job to get a pick.”
Throughout his meetings with NFL teams here at the combine, he said he keeps telling personnel to put him wherever—literally. Even special teams. He just wants to make an impact and he will – no matter where teams decide to put him.
“I think it comes back to just preparation. I spend a lot of time, a lot of energy learning the plays, developing my skills, my techniques, and I would say I’m dedicated to what I do. I think a big part of that is just the want to learn all these positions, the want to go out and do something different, to be versatile to run all of those positions. And I think just mentally that’s just helped me so much in learning how to play these positions.”
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