Draft Profile: Trae Waynes (CB)
An In-Depth Look at The NFL Draft’s Top Cornerback
The Miami Dolphins have attempted to bolster their cornerback group in recent years, drafting Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, as well as signing Cortland Finnegan. Despite this, Miami is still looking to improve at the position opposite Brent Grimes. The last time the team invested a first round pick in a defensive back was in 2009, when they selected Vontae Davis 25th overall out of Illinois. After 6 years, Miami could have their sights set on another first round defensive back- the Michigan State Spartans’ Trae Waynes.
CB- Michigan State
40-Yard Dash: 4.31 sec.
Bench Press: 19 Reps (225)
Vertical Jump: 38”
Played in 36 Games (Started 27)
Winner of MSU’s Tommy Love Award (Most Improved Player)
Semifinalist for Thorpe Award (Top Defensive Back)
First Team All-Big 10 (Coaches and Press)
Third Team All-American (Associated Press)
Mark Dantonio took over the Michigan State football program in 2007, and brought with him the strong vision of a defensive powerhouse. The Spartans’ defense plays with a “Don’t Tread On Me” mentality, and they pride themselves on being enforcers on the field. This year, the Michigan State player who embodied that attitude was Trae Waynes.
In 2014, the Bengals drafted former Spartan, Darqueze Dennard in the first round, leaving Trae Waynes as Michigan State’s number one cornerback, after two seasons spent playing under
Dennard’s shadow. Waynes clearly did not take his new job lightly, as he entered his second season with a much more confident and improved style of play. He is a tenacious corner on run support, constantly running downfield towards running backs and tight ends. Waynes is also experienced on special teams, and constantly stands out gunning for kickoffs. He is a multi-purpose player, and will be a great asset for any NFL team looking for an instant impact not only in pass defense, but also on running plays and special teams.
Waynes possesses impressive speed, which he uses to quickly flow across the field and make tackles on running plays. His speed also helps him avoid getting burned on deep routes, and allows him to stick with even the fastest pass catchers. Waynes possesses the natural ability to locate the football when thrown high and deep. Another one of Waynes’ best qualities is his tenacity. On tape he is constantly jamming receivers at the line, and plays strong on the goal line and short routes. Teams considering drafting Waynes can rest assured that he will not shy away from contact, and has no problem matching up on an island with strong, big-bodied receivers. NFL personnel will love Trae Waynes’ film, as he displays great tenacity, instincts, and speed, as well as a desire to be a part of every single play on the field.
Trae Waynes’ tendency to be physical was a huge asset in college, but he will have to be more cautious in the NFL. It will be very important for Waynes to add muscle and strength when he reaches the pros, as he cannot shove around NFL receivers like he did those in the Big 10. His tenacity also creates issues when he bites on plays, often dropping his eyes out of coverage to look for runners, and coming up somewhat recklessly on screens and trick plays. Defensive coordinators in the NFL could exploit this recklessness, and it will be important for Waynes to develop more discipline to avoid being targeted at the next level. Adding muscle, strength, and discipline in coverage will all be imperative for Waynes to make a smooth transition when he reaches the NFL.
Opposite Brent Grimes, Miami has been somewhat lost at corner. Grimes was a godsend for the team, but aside from his outstanding play there have been no answers at the cornerback position. Trae Waynes could fit the bill as the strong willed, aggressive defender the Dolphins have needed for their defense. Miami struggled against the run, and with red zone defense, both of which are areas of strength for Trae Waynes. If the team decides to draft a defensive back in the first round, Waynes would be a great fit, and could fill the need for a physical corner with the ability to come downhill in run support. If the Miami Dolphins coaches are able to help Waynes add strength, and play with more discipline on defense, they could be selecting a player who could follow Brent Grimes as Miami’s next premiere shutdown corner.