Scouting report on Waynes, a Vikings interest

Cornerback Trae Waynes is expected to be one of the Vikings’ 30 predraft visits. Here is the 411 on him, including one scout’s analysis on him.

To the surprise of no one, the Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to visit with Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes, according to the Pioneer Press.

Waynes has been projected as a possibility for the Vikings in numerous mock drafts, including most versions of’s mock drafts and the latest in Viking Update’s mock draft. He is regarded as the top cornerback in the draft class by most analysts and his athleticism shined through at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Waynes ran a blazing-fast 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, the fastest among defensive backs, and further cemented his position as the top cornerback available. The Vikings have the No. 11 overall pick, and that’s where many have the draft value of the 6-foot, 186-pounder lining up.

He is’s top-ranked cornerback and the only cornerback garnering a five-star rating.

Here is what NFL scout Dave-Te’ Thomas wrote in his pre-combine analysis of Waynes (a full biography and scouting report will be available next week):

Waynes has been on the scouts’ radar ever since he began outperforming 2013 Thorpe Award winner Darqueze Dennard the second part of the 2013 season. Labeled a “lock-down corner” by his coach at Michigan State, Pat Narduzzi, Waynes is one of the main factors why the Spartans ranked fourth in the NCAA FBS in passing efficiency defense (102.9 rating) and 25th in passing defense (196.0 ypg.). After making 50 tackles with three interceptions playing in Dennard’s shadow last in 2013, Waynes emerged in 2014, posting 43 hits with three pass thefts and seven pass breakups, as opponents completed just 19.8 percent of the passes targeted into his area.

Waynes has played a variety of roles in the secondary, but is best when allowed to perform in press coverage, as his range and fluid hips, along with his explosive closing burst reminds many of Seattle’s Richard Sherman. He shows no stiffness flipping his hips and looks fluid in his turns coming out of transition. You can see on film that he has the feet and balance to turn and stay on his man’s hip, but even with his excellent underneath range and ability to track plays down sideline-to-sideline, he will need to add bulk and strength.
Still, even though he lacks short-area power at the point of attack, he is willing, active and stout in run support.

Waynes has superb recovery speed and burst. He explodes off the snap and can stay stride for stride with the receivers. He has the loose hips needed to quickly change direction and displays good explosion closing on the ball. He shows great acceleration when closing, but when he relies too much on his speed to help him recover he will get outside his frame with his hands, resulting in several pass interference calls. He will cover ground suddenly, tracking the ball in flight and has no problems running or trailing receivers throughout the route.


Prospects by: OVERALL RANK | Position | College | Home State | Name

Related: NFL Scouting Combine Coverage

Viking Update Top Stories