2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Trae Waynes

  • Instinctive
  • Good press-man corner
  • Can run with speed receivers downfield
  • Can play off-man coverage
  • Excellent zone corner
  • Capable of matching up against No. 1 receivers
  • Loose hips; can turn and run
  • Has some ball skills
  • Has some length
  • Comfortable with ball in the air
  • Fast backpedal
  • Straight-line speed
  • Experienced and successful against good college receivers
  • Good tackler
  • Gritty defender
  • Plays with a swagger
  • Willing run defender
  • Confident; has the man-corner mentality
  • Ready to play
  • Physical defender
  • Scheme versatile
  • Durable

  • Weaknesses:
  • Lined up outside

  • Summary: Given the passing-driven nature of the NFL, there will always be a big demand for cornerbacks and pass-rushers. With a lot of cornerback-needy teams this offseason and a weak free-agency market, Waynes could go very quickly in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Some analysts prefer Marcus Peters, but the consensus is that Waynes is the best cornerback in the 2015 NFL Draft.

    Waynes hails from Kenosha, Wisconsin and was a teammate of Melvin Gordon at Bradford High School. After serving as a backup as a freshman at Michigan State, Waynes broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore across from Darqueze Dennard. Waynes was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and media that season. He totaled 50 tackles with five deflections and three interceptions for the year. Waynes closed out that season on a high note with good games against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship and Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

    With Dennard moving on to the NFL, Waynes took over as the boundary corner for the Spartans in 2014. That role was basically playing on an island on the outside in man-to-man coverage. Waynes was exceptional for Michigan State all season. On a weekly basis, he did a good job of covering No. 1 receivers and limiting them. Waynes had a strong game against Oregon in the Week 2. Versus Michigan, he played well against Wolverines receiver Devin Funchess, although an idiotic official flagged Waynes falsely on one contested pass. He snagged two interceptions against Nebraska with good coverage.

    At the Combine, Waynes surprised many with a fast 40 time of 4.31 seconds. He also looked good turning and running with fluid hips in the field drills.

    Waynes looks like a No. 1 cornerback who is capable of going head-to-head with primary NFL receivers. He is a tall, long corner who can cover big receivers. His height and length let him prevent wideouts from making catches over him. Waynes also is fast enough and athletic enough to run with them in and out of their breaks to prevent separation. He even has the speed to run with speed receivers, so he is capable of covering any kind of No. 1 wideout.

    Waynes is used to lining up on the outside, so if his team wants to use him in the slot, he could need some time to get used to that. It also wouldn’t hurt Waynes to add some weight for the NFL to fight with strong receivers.

    In the ground game, Waynes is a quality tackler and a willing contributor. He is physical with receivers and running backs with a gritty mentality.

    Waynes should be selected quickly in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and could be a quality 10-year starter with some Pro Bowl seasons during his career.

    Player Comparison: Jonathan Joseph. In terms of style of play, Waynes remains me of the Houston Pro Bowler. Waynes is taller than Joseph (5-11, 188), but they both have lanky frames that are well below 200 pounds. Joseph is a very good corner capable of going against No. 1 receivers and limiting them. He’s not an elite shutdown corner, but he’s one of the better corners in the NFL. I think Waynes will be the same.

    NFL Matches: New York Jets, Chicago, Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Houston

    There are a lot for teams that are in the market to improve their cornerbacks, and the free agent market isn’t great, so Waynes shouldn’t have to wait all that long on Thursday night to hear his name called. The first team that might take Waynes is the Jets with the sixth pick. New York’s corners were a huge weakness last year, and Waynes could be a quick upgrade.

    The Bears got a good season out of rookie Kyle Fuller, but they need another long-term starter to pair with him. With the passing attacks of the playoff teams in the NFC North, Chicago has to be strong at corner in order to compete.

    Minnesota is in the same situation except worse in that you have to factor in the Bears’ receiving duo twice a year along with the passing attacks of Green Bay and Detroit. The Vikings could use a corner to pair with Xavier Rhodes, plus Mike Zimmer is always inclined to take a corner in the first round.

    The Saints would be fortunate to land Waynes. Their corners across from Keenan Lewis really struggled and were picked on throughout 2014. It would be surprising if Waynes got past Minnesota or New Orleans.

    San Francisco and Miami also could us a long-term starter at corner. Both organizations have some age at the position. Houston could be a possibility for Waynes if Kareem Jackson isn’t re-signed.


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