Trae Waynes is off to a bad start
We all know the preseason is way, way too early to make definitive declarations on a rookie’s career, but it’s never too early to report on their progress. When it comes to Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes, not much in his debut preseason performance Sunday night changed our opinion of him from what we saw in his 754 snaps at Michigan State last season.
Waynes has great speed, and it’s that attribute that likely vaulted him into the first round. He has experience in press coverage and he can run in a straight line with any receiver in the league — a trait was on display last night as he stayed in phase on a deep ball and forced an incompletion in the first half.
However, the bad aspects of his game were on display as well, and they more than outweighed the good. Waynes got called for three penalties, and he struggled in off coverage and when asked to change direction.
One of the anomalies we noted back during draft season was his unique measurable that saw him run a faster 40 time (4.31) than a short shuttle (4.39). Many cornerbacks usually run the shuttle in the lower 4s, and the poor time shows up on the field when Waynes is asked to change direction. Ironically, he may be best-suited to cover straight-line deep receivers like his teammate Mike Wallace, though he’ll only have that opportunity in practice.
Can he turn it around? Sure, it’s still early, but Waynes has a long way to go to live up to his No. 11 overall pick status. For now, he looks like a major project for the Vikings.