But this spring has been Waynes’ turn to wow those watching on the sidelines, which included Dennard last Wednesday in East Lansing.
“I think he just sealed the deal," Dennard said. "I think he just showed all the coaches and scout who came here to the pro day that he is the best defensive back – best cornerback coming into the draft.”
Waynes was a limited participant in the pro day, just working out in a couple drills and going through position drills for the 53 NFL personnel on hand. He elected to run the 60-yard shuttle and the 20-yard shuttle to improve his times from the NFL Combine, which were hindered by cramps.
His 40 time, however, he rested on as he posted a 4.31 to impress in Indianapolis.
”A lot of people, they didn’t think I could run that fast being from Wisconsin,” Waynes said. “We aren’t known for speed.”
But with all the impressive times and film from his two years as a starter in East Lansing, Waynes is not too wrapped up in the hype he is generating as a projected Top 15 pick.
”That’s more so for my agent to deal with and not me,” he said. “I’m just trying to perform the best I can and let everything fall into place.”
Some of that approach can be credited to Dennard, his partner at the cornerback as Michigan State won the Rose Bowl in 2013. The now Cincinnati Bengals cornerback – and first-round pick last year – has been good council through the process.
”I tell Trae just enjoy it,” Dennard said. “You gotta make it a fun process. Don’t let it stress you out. That’s what I did last year.
”You did everything you had to do and whatever else happens, happens.”
The next step for Waynes will be visits in the month of April. He has private workouts set with the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans and visits on the schedule with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings.
It is a conversation Waynes of which Waynes is aware, but not one with which he is concerning himself.
”I’m worried about what I can do and what I’m going to do,” he said. “If he is the overall better corner, cool, but I’m still going to compete to try and be the best.”
But as the steps unfold, Waynes will keep heeding advice from Dennard.
“He just said stay level headed,” Waynes said. “Try not to think about it too much and take every day at a time.”