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Trae Waynes 2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report

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Waynes ran a 4.3 at the combine, but will stiffness limit him at the next level?

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Position

Cornerback

School

Michigan State

Size

6'0, 186 pounds

Strengths

Waynes is a lengthy, speedy corner prospect.  He is at his best when matched up playing man coverage.  Michigan State put him on an island quite a bit, similar to how they used Darqueze Dennard last season.  He has great top end speed, clocking in at a 4.31 in the 40 yard dash.  Waynes is excellent when covering the deep ball.  He shows an outstanding ability of staying ahead of the receiver and finding the football when necessary.

He has outstanding mirrors skills.  He's very good along the sideline, cutting off.  Waynes keeps his head down, watching the hips of opposing receivers.  The following play is the best example that I've seen of this.  He plays this perfectly, cutting the receiver off right as the ball arrives.  Notice the closing burst to regain the advantage.

Waynes is willing and aggressive in run support.  He stays square and in control and attacks the ball carrier's lower half.  He shows nice closing ability and is able to wrap up cleanly for the most part.  He plays with the mentality of a safety in this area, showing nice instincts and coming downhill quickly.

Weaknesses

There's some stiffness in him.  He will get crossed up by a good route runner because struggles to redirect quickly after the receiver has made his cut.  Luckily for him, he has excellent recovery speed.  However, he's going to give up the quick one cut routes (slants, posts, corners) simply because he leaves too big of a window for the quarterback to sling it into.  Due to this, he's probably going to be an average zone player at best.  He probably needs a man scheme to succeed.

One thing that really needs to be cleaned up is his tendency to grab receivers.  This happens mostly on short and intermediate routes where he needs to stay with the receiver, but loses a step out of the break.  Waynes gets flagged for interference on the play below.  He jams the receiver off of the line, but keeps his hands on him through his break.  That's going to be 15 yards every single time in the offensive friendly NFL.

Summary

You probably aren't going to beat Waynes on a straight "nine" route, but you'll probably beat him with the short slant.  That's just who he is.  He's going to be a man guy in the NFL.  He struggles a bit in zone, due to average change of direction skills.  His speed will bail him out of some bad situations.  However, his above average size and speed combination probably keep him in the first round.  He fits somewhere in that 16-25 range.

Draft Projection

Mid to late first