2015 NFL Draft Profile: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State


Nov 22, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback

Trae Waynes

(15) stands on the field between plays during the 1st half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Time to take a look at another draft prospect.

One thing is for sure, the Jets are going to have a lot of choices when pick number six roles around. There are playmakers on offense, big offensive linemen, edge pass rushers, and possibly even a quarterback. Talent will be abundantly available to the New York Jets.

More from The Jet Press

But, what about cornerback? We know the Jets need one, maybe even two. Daniel Jeremiah has mocked today’s prospect to the Jets in his latest edition. Todd McShay has also discussed this player as a possibility for the Jets at number six.

The player we are going to look at this afternoon is Trae Waynes, CB out of Michigan State.

Next: College Stats

Nov 8, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA. Ohio State Buckeyes running back

Ezekiel Elliott

(15) gets outside of Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at Trae Waynes’ career at Michigan State:

Defense & Fumbles

Waynes is around the football quite a bit.  Over his last two years, Waynes posted three interceptions each year, and went from five passes defended as a junior, to eight as a senior.

A player that can get after the football will make an impact on the next level.  Trae Waynes is that type of player.

Next: NFL Combine

Feb 23, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans defensive back Trae Waynes catches a pass in a work out drill during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at Trae waynes’ performance at the NFL Combine. First, let’s look at some video:

Waynes ran a blazing fast 40 yard dash, 4.32 seconds. He also led the way in the bench press with 19 reps. Strength is an essential element as a cornerback, as he will be asked to play press coverage. His performance in the bench press will be an asset.

Watching the drill on tape, Waynes seemed a bit hesitant as he made the switch from backpedaling to running straight ahead, but it’s hard to judge that out of context. Here is what is profile has to say:

STRENGTHS: Good length. Loves to compete in man-to-man and is mentally tough. Asked to play on an island and did so successfully. Allowed just two touchdowns over last two seasons. Bump-and-run specialist. Recovery speed to make up for separation. Maintains feel for vertical threats and uses his frame to pin wideouts against sideline. Excels in deep, man coverage and can be smothering. Acceleration and length to contest any throw on the field. Well-coached and plays with proper leverage in coverage. Can be intimidating and disruptive against finesse receivers. Drives forward with burst and runs through targets, jarring balls loose. Wrap-up tackler who understands his responsibility against the run.

WEAKNESSES: “Grab, grab, grab!” Transition to a less hands-on cover style will take time. Would grab opposing wide receivers at top of route at times rather than trusting length and ball skills. Penalized nine times over last two seasons. Tight through hips and tends to play upright. Struggles to mirror and match against quickness. Hips and feet get clumsy in transition. Allows brief separation window at the top of short and intermediate routes. Fails to sink hips to stop, causing balance issues. Sometimes plays with blinders on and anticipation is below average. Slow to process combinations.

The “tight through hips” does play out as he ran the drill on the Combine tape. The profile also compares him to Antonio Cromartie, but my readers and followers know how I feel about comparing college guys to established pros.

The proof is in the game tape, so let’s see what we have.

Next: Highlights and Final Thoughts

This is just a small sampling of course, but it is game action, from a game that Trae Waynes played against Baylor this past season. Here are my thoughts.

There is clearly something here. I love the way he tackles. If you look at the opening play, where the receiver set an illegal pick on him, he fought through and made the tackle on the receiver with the football. That is a great attribute for Trae Waynes. He also plays physically, which you don’t often see at the college level.

What I don’t like are some of his instincts. Waynes doesn’t always get his head turned around quickly. The ball gets on his man before he has time to react. He also, as his profile notes, allows some separation at times. That is not the comparison to Cromartie that we want. Cromartie has a unique ability to close, Waynes is not there yet.

But, Waynes has interception skills as evidenced by his stats. That reminds me of a player that I don’t want to remember. Anyone recall Otis Smith? Smith was a guy that could make the big play, and made some electric ones. He also got torched, quite frequently. Watching Waynes on tape worries me, he could be that guy. I am not saying he is, but I have my concerns.

Waynes can be a Jet, but not with the number six pick.

Next: Geno Smith, Percy Harvin and More