Bengals linked to Trent McDuffie in CBS Sports mock draft

Trent McDuffie - Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Trent McDuffie - Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Bengals need help in their secondary and that’s why fans should get used to seeing the team attached to defensive backs in mock drafts. The latest name to be mocked to the Bengals is Washington’s Trent McDuffie, who Josh Edwards of CBS Sports had the stripes taking 16th overall.

Edwards offered this analysis:

"Cincinnati’s secondary was not so much the issue against Cleveland, but there is no doubt that unit needs to be upgraded. Over the years, the Bengals have used first-round picks on Darqueze Dennard, William Jackson III, Dre Kirkpatrick and even Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph going back a little further. None of those players are on the roster, as they are relying on cast-offs from other teams."

Yes, the Bengals have relied on cast-offs from other teams to man their secondary but for the most part, it’s been a decent strategy. Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton have played well in Cincinnati while Eli Apple and Trae Waynes have proven they’re not the answers moving forward.

Speaking of Waynes, he’s a big reason why the Bengals will be in a position to spend their first-rounder on a cornerback, as the oft-injured Waynes has been a massive disappointment. It’s likely that Waynes is not in Cincinnati next season as a result, putting the Bengals in a spot where they go with a player to add to the secondary in the early rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Trent McDuffie mocked to Cincinnati Bengals

Through eight games this season, McDuffie has racked up 13 tackles (two for loss) and three defended passes. He doesn’t have any interceptions so far this season but he had one in 2019 and one in 2020.

Brentley Weissman of The Draft Network put together a list of pros and cons on McDuffie. On the pros, he wrote:

"McDuffie displays very good route recognition and instincts and is extremely comfortable in zone coverage, showing an ability to keep his eyes on the receiver but also read the quarterback. Very good short-area quickness to break on throws in front of him. Has very good straight-line speed to carry receivers vertically."

For the cons:

"McDuffie lacks top-end physical traits in terms of overall size, strength, and length. While he certainly can hold his own on the outside, bigger and more physical receivers will give him a challenge both through the route and at the catch point. He has very good straight-line speed to carry vertically, but will not be able to recover if he takes a false step. You don’t see him play press often."

As is the case with any draft prospect, there’s good and there’s bad. McDuffie is someone who could be plugged into the Bengals’ secondary from Week 1 of the 2022 season and make an impact.

As Edwards noted in his writeup, the Bengals haven’t been afraid to take cornerbacks in the first round of previous drafts. They might have recently started the strategy of adding secondary help via free agency but Awuzie and Hilton have shown that it was a good move for the team.

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The Bengals need to continue being aggressive with their defensive additions and McDuffie would fit in well with this team. Fans would likely be excited to see this pick come to fruition.