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- Position: Cornerback (CB)
- Class: Junior (redshirt)
- College: Michigan State
- Ht/Wt: 6'0", 186 pounds
In Trae Waynes, I see a very good man coverage corner who understands good coverage fundamentals. Waynes doesn't have very sudden movement skills, and doesn't always trust his top speed, which is great for a cornerback. Often, he wouldn't even bother to backpedal on a play, releasing straight into having his back to the receiver. Waynes is a very physical player who has gotten flagged a handful of times for pass interference this season. He sticks tightly to his targets, and actively uses his hands and body positioning to keep them off-balance.
Waynes has done some blitzing, but doesn't sift through blockers easily. He appears susceptible to comeback routes; I'd see him sink his hips to change direction, losing momentum. He prefers to work with his back to the sideline. Waynes has done a bit of zone work and should have a good understanding of the concepts, although he more naturally plays off the receiver than the quarterback. In college, he didn't do much press coverage, but he has the physicality to handle it.
Waynes looks like a corner who will be a day one starter, but his effectiveness will depend on if the scheme suits his strengths and if he can develop smoother transitions from backpedaling to forward motion. He has better long speed than Darqueze Dennard, last year's first-round cornerback from Michigan State, but his skill set is still best suited for mostly man coverage. Receivers really struggle to separate against him, and that's something a lot of defenses would value with their first-round selection.