When the Minnesota Vikings drafted Michigan State University cornerback Trae Waynes with the #11 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, it was met with some mixed results from fans on social media. Some felt that it was too high for a player that some of the expert draft analysts claimed had issues with tackling and being too grabby in coverage. However, other fans felt that the Vikings secured the best cornerback in the draft with the selection.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Connor Muldowney from Spartan Avenue (FanSided’s site the Michigan State Spartans) some questions about Trae Waynes. Since Muldowney had the opportunity of watching Trae Waynes play for the last three seasons of college football, I figured he’d have some great insight into what this draft pick could mean for the Minnesota Vikings.
Here is what Connor Muldowney had to say about former Michigan State University cornerback Trae Waynes in my interview with him:
What is the greatest asset that Trae Waynes brings to the Minnesota Vikings?
"“Trae’s greatest asset may just be his football IQ. He may not be the biggest guy on the field or the strongest, but he will always impress when it comes to reading the quarterback and locking down receivers. Waynes knows exactly how much physicality you can have as a corner without getting called for a penalty. His smarts are really off the charts.”"
Are there any reasons why Vikings fans should be concerned about this pick?
"“The only reason Vikings fans should be concerned about this pick is because some “experts” are feeding them the wrong info. Guys like Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper have said he lacks in the tackling category, but I can tell you after watching him for the past two years, that’s a strength. No need to worry because Waynes will live up to the hype.”"
What is your overall impression of Waynes as a college football player?
"Nov 22, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Trae Waynes (15) celebrates a win after a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports“As a college football player, I was impressed by the way he handled adversity. There was one instance in 2013 when he was playing Notre Dame where he was called for multiple pass interference penalties that seemed a bit controversial and MSU lost the game. He could have let that be his defining moment and shrivel up into nothingness, but he responded by helping create one of the best secondaries in the nation and MSU didn’t lose another game for the rest of the year. Now that’s impressive.”"
How do you feel Trae Waynes will transition to the NFL?
"“It will be a learning process, like it is for all rookies. Waynes will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to live up to the hype, but it won’t be until about the fourth game that fans will start to see flashes of greatness. He transitions well, just needs to add a little more strength because the NFL speed is already there. He will have his own “Waynes Island” soon enough.”"
Do you have any final impressions on Waynes that you’d like to tell Vikings fans about?
"Vikings fans, cherish this guy and don’t take him for granted. These three years that MSU has had the pleasure of being his home has flown by. Give him a chance to impress because if you do, you won’t regret it."
From the sound of things, Connor Muldowney firmly believes that Trae Waynes can be a successful cornerback in the NFL. In fact, he seems almost set on believing that. But he does bring up some great points. As fans, we have to taper our expectations a bit as rookies, especially cornerbacks, sometimes need time to adjust their game to the NFL level. Luckily for Waynes, he’s got a smart coaching staff to help him and if he truly has the football IQ that Muldowney states he has, things could be helped along at a good pace.
I’d like to thank Connor Muldowney of Spartan Avenue for taking the time to answer those questions for The Viking Age. Be sure to check out Spartan Avenue‘s older articles if you want to dig up more information on Trae Waynes and also check out some of the recent stuff to see how the Spartans will be adjusting to life after Waynes.
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