Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer loves to work with and develop defensive backs since he first entered the league with the Dallas Cowboys as an assistant coach of the nickel defense in 1994. He was then promoted to defensive backs coach in 1995.
The Vikings have agreed to terms with cornerback Terence Newman in free agency, but at the age of 36 – soon to be 37 – his role may be more of a teacher and veteran leader. And Josh Robinson did show vast improvements in 2014, but was still not the shutdown corner that Zimmer wants.
ESPN Draft Analyst Mel Kiper spoke on a conference call Thursday and said he believes Waynes is the best cornerback in the draft. He also sees him going at No. 11 to the Vikings.
“The speed, the size, all the things you want in terms of the physical qualifications of a corner indicate he’s going to go in the top 15,” Kiper said. “I had him going at 11 to Minnesota, needing a corner the way they do.”
The analyst also said that cornerbacks have a tendency to get pushed up higher in the draft, likely because of the emphasis offenses are putting on the passing game. You only have to go back a year ago to see this happen as Justin Gilbert went in the top 10.
However, Kiper is not too worried about this happening with Waynes because he thinks Waynes is a better cornerback coming out of college than Gilbert was.
“The corners get pushed up,” Kiper said. “(Waynes) is certainly more polished than Justin Gilbert was coming out and Gilbert went in the top 10 to Cleveland last year. So Waynes, to me, has a lot of upside. He’s got the right attitude and approach; he had a real good year.”
Even though Waynes is a talented player, he does still have flaws in his game. There would be times when he would use his hands too much in coverage and draw too many penalties. He would also get beat on the inside too often, especially down near the goal line. But all the problems he has are considered “coachable,” and Kiper believes he is the best corner in the draft.
“There are times where he will give a little ground and have guys beating him inside down at the goal line, but that was rare,” Kiper said. “I think he’s a top-11 pick. And I do think solidly, without question, the top corner in this draft.
“Like I said, 11 at Minnesota makes a lot of sense right now.”
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