NFL Draft 2015

Trae Waynes Selection And The Reactions That Followed

Not everyone was a fan of the Minnesota Vikings selecting cornerback Trae Waynes with the 11th overall pick last night, but the readership here at VT weighed in on a poll last night and the results are mostly favorable.

In the poll below, with 392 votes placed as of this posting, 87% of our readers gave the selection either an “A” or “B” grade. Instant reactions are, of course, not an accurate reflection of how a player might actually produce in the NFL, but who doesn’t prefer a little optimism over sincere disappointment?


Lindsey has done a great job of getting the immediate reactions from Rick Spielman and Mize Zimmer at Winter Park, in addition to Waynes himself this afternoon, but I wanted to look outside of the team here at VT and see what kind of draft grades are floating about.

This is pretty much a random sampling of what people are saying about the selection.

DAN KADAR OF MOCKING THE DRAFT:  Waynes is regarded by some as the draft’s top cornerback, but does he make the Vikings better than a wide receiver like DeVante Parker would? I don’t think so. Waynes is a pro-ready choice, and this isn’t really a reach. His tackling, however, needs to be improved, and you wonder how well he was coached up at Michigan State if his ceiling is low. Regardless, he’s a Day 1 starter.


WALTERFOOTBALL.COM: It was either Trae Waynes or DeVante Parker, and either would’ve made a ton of sense. But whereas Parker was the No. 3 receiver, Waynes was the top cornerback on the board. With that in mind, doesn’t it seem like a huge steal that the Vikings were able to obtain the No. 1 corner in the draft with the 11th pick? This is a strong choice, as Waynes fills a need as a starter across from Xavier Rhodes. The Vikings had to find another corner to help them against all of the talented receivers on Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit.


MARK MASKE OF THE WASHINGTON POST: Trae Waynes was the draft’s top cornerback and probably worthy of a top-10 choice. The Vikings managed to get him just outside the top 10, at 11th.


JOSEPH ZUCKER OF BLEACHER REPORT: The Vikings should have their CB partnership of the future in Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes. Only critique I have is that Minnesota should’ve prioritized Parker over Waynes.


FREDDIE BOSTON OF LOMBARDI AVE (Yes, A Packers Site): This pick makes a lot of sense for the Vikings. They are slowly building a top secondary in Minnesota, with Trae Waynes joining Xavier Rhodes at cornerback. In this division, that is absolutely crucial. When you’re facing Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Calvin Johnson,Golden Tate, Alshon Jeffery and now Kevin White twice a year, you best have good corners. Waynes will fit the Vikings’ system perfectly, and will be expected to be a day one starter. Many liked Marcus Peters better, but with the off-the-field issues, I’m fine with them taking Waynes at No. 11.


CBS SPORTSThis is the best corner in the draft and Mike Zimmer loves corners. He and Xavier Rhodes will form a nice duo in Minnesota.


BRYAN PEREZ OF DRAFT BREAKDOWN: The Vikings were up next at No. 11, and I was all but convinced that they would gobble up DeVante Parker (WR, Louisville) to pair up with Teddy Bridgewater.  Instead, they chose Trae Waynes (CB, Michigan St.) to enhance their overall pass defense and to help offset the receivers in the NFC North.  I don’t hate the pick, but they had a chance to do something similar to what the Raiders did; The Vikings passed on the chance to give their franchise quarterback a blue-chip receiver.  I have a hunch they could end up regretting that decision.


MATT FALK OF DRAFT SEASON: Waynes has been linked to the Vikings for weeks and it finally comes true. Adding him along with Xavier Rhodes gives the Vikings and Mike Zimmer one of the best young corner duos in the NFC.


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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. There’s a lot of questioning of this pick. Some of it is warranted and for good reason but while the Waynes selection may have divided the Vikings fan base, between those who believed they should have built around the QB and taken Teddy’s former teammate and a helluva receiver in Devante Parker and those who believed they should have continued to build defense and were happy with the new corner to go bookend to Xavier Rhodes.

    The debate can go on for days, weeks, years even… Yes, the Vikings passed on the chance to give their franchise quarterback a blue-chip receiver and they should have prioritized that over all else. They could end up regretting that decision. Then again, they could have just drafted the next shutdown corner.

    Which is more important long term? Offense or Defense? And can’t Teddy be great without Devante Parker? (i think so…) Can’t the Vikings find (or have they already found…) him targets in Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace not to mention Cordarrelle Patterson and Jarius Wright. If Patterson’s mentality has truly changed he could be that young, emerging player Parker would’ve been for Bridgewater and one that is so immensely more talented. He pans out and he’s the perfect centerpiece offensive weapon for this team. In the meantime, Charles Johnson who showed he can be reliable with his breakout year last year for Teddy can continue to be the go to guy.

    The one thing to remember here is, and on this I think everybody can agree, that Mike Zimmer is more than capable of getting the most out of his defensive players. He was brought in to fix the defense, and the whole team overall, but mostly for the defense so have some faith and hold your concerns on Waynes for a bit.

    Let Zimmer and Co. do what they do best. Remember, Xavier Rhodes wasn’t the player he is today when the Vikings first selected him. He showed some promise but really took a step forward once Zimmer got a chance to work with him. And lots of fans had questions about Anthony Barr after the Vikings picked him ninth overall last year. He was described as a “project” or a player that Zimmer and company would have to groom and mold into a good football player in the NFL. Barr was a “Zimmer pick” too and I think they coached him up pretty well, didn’t they? Why can’t they do the same for Waynes and fix his flaws?

    This pick not only makes sense it was the correct choice as part of a continuing effort to dominate the defensive side of the football which is where the Vikings needed the most work when Zimmer was hired a year ago ( and whether you believe so or not the defense is the side side that still does need the most work.) Eventually, they hope to have a defense where cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes can be largely left to handle receivers in man coverage, allowing Zimmer to dial up more aggressive blitz packages and sapping precious tenths of seconds from quarterbacks to diagnose pass rushes and find receivers.

    I’m confident with a solid corner opposite Rhodes playing good they can compete against the Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Staffords of the NFL. Continuing the build this defense can only help Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings. If the Vikings defense vaults into a top-10 unit after ranking 14th overall last season then the young offense won’t have to do so much or always be relied upon to win games.

    I applaud Speilman for the pick. It’s clear to me that Spielman as the GM and final decision maker is not only listening to his coach but is working with him. That’s how a smart GM does his job so long as he respects and trusts the coach to know what he’s talking about and clearly Spielman does with Zimmer. He’s working with his coach and getting talent but not only just-‘talent’ but talent they can agree on is a fit for this team and what Zimmer is trying to do. Where they could clash or butt heads and try to fit round pegs into square holes they instead are rebuilding the roster to fit the type of defense Zimmer wants and in only two drafts the team actually looks very different and has played a lot better thus far.

    Not only is Mike Zimmer consulted on picks but he’s an extensive part of the process as he sits down with players and talks to them and even coaches them up a bit pre-draft. And Zimmer and his staff took a very long and careful look at Waynes leading up to the draft. They spent quite a bit of time with him and they obviously felt his flaws weren’t going to deter him from being a good player. As NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of Waynes on the broadcast after the choice, “If you play defense for Michigan State, you’re well-coached.”

    What’s not to like about Trae Waynes? General criticisms like “Waynes needs work on his tackling” or “his weight (he’s too small)” are not very good reasons to pass on a corner. First of all, every rookie needs to work on something coming into the NFL. There are no finished products in college football. Second of all, what do you want from a cornerback mostly? The ability to tackle or the ability to cover a receiver? Break up passes or creature turnovers with interceptions?

    While fans love interceptions – who doesn’t? – Zimmer says he’s more concerned with how many passes a corner prevents from being caught. Zimmer said he’s not concerned about his weight or how well he can tackle. He’s simply concerned with whether or not the guy can cover. And to me, that’s the bottom line with a cornerback. Not if he can tackle a runningback in open field every time or even whether he has the speed to stay with and run with the fastest receivers (which he does btw).

    At the end of the day they need to be able to cover and make a play on the ball in the air most of all. Either swat it away or break up a pass by getting a hand in there at the right moment to prevent the catch. And I think this is something Waynes excels at. He also has the size Zimmer covets in corners and feels that his corners need so they are not outmatched from the beginning (ala Josh Robinson vs Chicago the past few seasons.)

    So he may be a liability as a run defender as a rookie somewhat. But if he’s a shutdown corner in pass coverage more times than he misses a tackle it won’t be even mentioned or brought up. He can get bye with sub par tackling if he covers so well they stop throwing to his side of the field because they cannot complete passes against him. Nobody cares how well Richard Sherman, Revis, or Patrick Peterson tackle. They only talk about them as being shutdown NFL defenders because as corners their position is to stop the pass!

    So in closing, you don’t have to be a huge fan of the selection. You don’t even have to like it… But you shouldn’t be overly critical because you fell in love with the story of Bridgewater and Parker reuniting in the NFL. Give me valid reasons for concerns in one years time and I’ll come around but until then I hope for Patterson to re-emerge as a budding star at receiver and I hope Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson and Kyle Rudolph all continue to take steps and give Bridgewater more targets than he can shake a stick at… err..uhh probably shouldn’t use that line considering Peterson and all.

  2. Parker is as much an unknown as Waynes. There’s no guarantee any pick will turn out as projected. I guess Wallace isn’t considered Blu chip either. The defense dropped 9 points per game last year with minimal roster changes.