NFL Scout Suggests Why Patriots Didn’t Select Stud Corner In Round 1

Trent McDuffie could have been a great fit in Foxboro

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Cornerback was one of the Patriots’ more pressing needs entering the 2022 NFL Draft, but New England elected not to target the position in Round 1.

This was despite the opportunity presenting itself to New England on a silver platter. Derek Stingley Jr. and Sauce Gardner were long gone by the time the 21st overall pick rolled around, but Trent McDuffie surprisingly still was on the board. One NFL insider before the draft described the possibility of McDuffie falling in the Patriots’ lap as a “dream scenario” for New England.

The Washington product ultimately was taken at No. 21, but not by Bill Belichick and company. The Patriots traded the pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, who moved up eight spots to land one of the top three corners in this year’s class. New England moved down to No. 29 where it drafted Cole Strange, a guard out of Chattanooga.

So, why did the Patriots pass on the chance to potentially land their next great CB? ESPN’s Mike Reiss addressed the matter in his latest Sunday column.

“One NFL scout pointed to McDuffie’s shorter-than-ideal arm length (29 3/4) as a possible reason the Patriots didn’t race to turn in their card — especially since they have traditionally preferred to play press-man coverage on the outside (where some view arm length as critical),” Reiss wrote. “Weighing that against the value the Patriots received to trade down (getting a solid haul of third- and fourth-round picks), they took the trade, knowing there was a small handful of players (including Strange) they were comfortable selecting at 29.”

It should be noted the Patriots passed on another talented defensive back even after they traded down. Dax Hill, who many in the pre-draft process viewed as a player Belichick would covet, was selected 31st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Many Patriots fans likely came away from the draft disappointed by New England’s body of work. Those feelings surely will intensify if the secondary proves to be a major issue in Foxboro this season.

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