Bengals bolster pass protection in early 4-round mock draft

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Trent McDuffie – Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Bengals have continuously had high first-round draft picks in recent seasons as they have struggled to win. This season, things are changing for the Who Dey faithful as the Bengals have looked like one of the better teams in the NFL sitting at 4-2. As a result, Cincy currently holds a pick that is much later than usual at pick 29.

Technically Cincinnati sits in second in the AFC ahead of their divisional battle with the Ravens. Now, will the stripes really make an AFC Championship and pick this late? Probably not, but who knows.

With such a late pick, where the Bengals would decide to go is quite interesting. Some clear needs for Cincy as of now are bettering their offensive line and adding more depth at cornerback. Here’s what Cincinnati picked in a four-round mock draft, which was done through Pro Football Network’s draft simulator.

Round 1: Pick 29 – Trent McDuffie, CB (Washington)

With a late first-round pick, the options on the offensive line are scarce. Instead of a lineman, the stripes opted to help their cornerback room. Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton are clear starters going into future seasons in Cincy. However, the situation of Trae Waynes is not good right now.

Waynes was given a large contract in 2020 but he cannot stay on the field. He finally played a couple of games earlier in the season, now he finds himself on injured reserve yet again with the hamstring injury that held him out in Week 1 and 2.

If Waynes continues to be injured this season, the Bengals may consider cutting him since he also missed all of the 2020 season. When Waynes did play he was mediocre, but to be fair he had not played in a long time.

Finding a starter-worthy perimeter corner is a must for Cincinnati in the 2022 NFL Draft. Trent McDuffie with the 29th pick is one option. McDuffie hails from Washington and is slightly undersized at 5’11”. Still, he has plenty of upside to be a quality starting CB in the NFL.

Here’s some of a scouting report done by Pro Football Network on McDuffie,

"Hyperbole aside, McDuffie is truly in the highest tier athletically. His elite explosiveness is visible in multiple phases. He has searing quickness charging the backfield, and he also has the vertical burst to rise up for high passes. His explosiveness translates to spry, sudden feet at the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, McDuffie is a quick-twitch athlete with a ton of potential energy stored in his frame. He owns the lateral suddenness to slip past blocks, and his twitch and explosion allow him to recover ground against double moves swiftly."

McDuffie’s athleticism and ability to explode to the ball is his strongest suit. Having such a sudden burst allows him to recover in coverage and makes plays against ball carriers. Think about some of the better playmaking corners in the league right now like Trevon Diggs or Marshon Lattimore, they have fantastic speed and burst that allows them to close on the ball quickly.

For this reason alone, McDuffie has massive potential as he develops. Look at this example of his speed and he runs the width of the field to tackle an opponent.

Washington has really turned out defensive backs recently and many have been great, such as Budda Baker, Marcus Peters, and Byron Murphy. Could McDuffie be the next high-level DB out of Washington? He certainly has that potential and could fit in nicely in Cincinnati.