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Scouting The Draft: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

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We continue our look at some of the top prospects with a look at the promising Spartan defender.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

Would the Jets select another cornerback in the first round? We've had Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner recently and we have two young players who need time to develop in Dee and Dexter. Waynes is arguably the best corner in the draft and will likely be selected in the top 25 when the draft rolls around. The Jets certainly won't select him at #6 overall but if they move back and rate him highly enough, stranger things have happened.

Waynes played a pivotal role for the Spartans this year as Michigan State rolled to an 11-2 record, his play helped them rate 21st in terms of pass efficiency, 10th in completion percentage against, 10th in interceptions and a dominant comeback bowl victory in the Cotton. He finished the year with 46 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, 3 interceptions and 8 passes defended.

Waynes has the potential to come in and start immediately, making him an attractive option for middle-to-late selection cornerback needy teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles. Waynes could have returned to Michigan State for his senior year, however with a new defensive coordinator coming on board, receiving a high draft projection and wanting to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, he decided to enter early.

Measurables

Height: 6'1

Weight: 182lb's

Class: Junior

Projected 40: 4.42

Statistics

Year Tackles For A Loss Sacks Interceptions Passes Defended
2014 46 2 1 3 8
2013 50 1.5 3 8
2012 5 0 0.5 0 0

Positives

  • Good height and length for the position.
  • Decent straight line speed, acceleration to cover faster players.
  • Played man-to-man cover defense in college, often left on an island.
  • Uses his body and length to close windows quickly.
  • Plays with a physical attitude, often delivers a pop.
  • Makes a good break on the ball, keeps his eyes on the QB.
  • Excellent read and react awareness, comes off his own assignment to make plays.
  • Always competes for contested footballs.
  • Comes downhill to play the run well, shows a willingness to play the run.

Negatives

  • A little tightness when covering underneath against quicker receivers.
  • Needs to take better angles to make plays on the ball.
  • Would want him to add some muscle to a lean frame.
  • Uses his hands a lot, could lead to several flags in the NFL with twitchy officials.
  • Been durable in college but had knee ligament problems as a senior in high school.

Conclusion

As a prospect, I really like Waynes and I do think he'll come in and compete straight away. I've seen people compare him to Kyle Fuller of the Bears and I would say that's very accurate. He needs to be disciplined and he needs to work on playing with consistent technique, however there is a reason he's the #1 cornerback in this draft.He can blanket receivers, he baits QB's into believing there is a window and closes it quickly, a little like Richard Sherman. He has sound tackling technique and if he can add a little bulk, he could be a complete corner. I don't know how he'll shape up against bigger stronger receivers in the NFL, players like Dez Bryant, but he'll compete all the way. You'd expect nothing less from a Spartan defender.

I don't think the Jets will go corner and I don't think they should go corner, but Waynes will make some scouting department look very good. My guess is he ends up in Pittsburgh and he competes immediately.

Draft Grade: 81

90-100 = Exceptional Talent

80-90 = Impact Player

70-80 = NFL Starter

60-70 = Solid NFL Potential

50-60 = Draftable - Lot of work needed

>50 = Undraftable - Long Shot To Stick