Trae Waynes says he’s relearning how to play cornerback


First round pick Trae Waynes got an early taste of how rough the NFL can be for a rookie cornerback when he was called for three penalties in the Vikings’ preseason opener against Pittsburgh.

In a piece for the Players Tribune, Waynes discusses that night and everything else he went through in preseason as he began the arduous task of adjusting to the pro game.

According to Waynes he’s basically had to forget everything he learned in college about what you can and can’t do in terms of contact with receivers and pick up an entirely new approach to his position.

Waynes writes about what happened when he approached a game official after one of his Hall of Fame game penalties (via Players Tribune):

"When I talked to one of the referees after one of my penalties, he told me that after five yards, think of it as flag football. You can’t touch anybody. Even just having your hands on a receiver’s back out of a break is enough to get a penalty.Flag football.The playbook, the size, the speed — there are some things you just know are going to be different when you make the jump from college to the NFL. But what I didn’t see coming was the fact that I was going to have to re-learn how to play the position I was drafted to play."

Waynes discusses the different techniques he’s learning to get over his habit of grabbing receivers, including disciplining himself to play with his feet instead of his hands.

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The rookie also talks about how lucky he is to be able to learn from teammates like Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman and Captain Munnerlyn. He credits Mike Zimmer for showing faith in him by leaving out there after his three penalties and letting him battle away.

Young Waynes may not be a part of the plan right now, except on special teams, but it sounds like he at least gets what he needs to do in order to improve.

If Waynes is as smart and dedicated as he comes across in his piece, it shouldn’t be too much longer before he’s ready to get on the field and compete in some kind of role with defense.

Next: Colin Kaepernick destroyed by Harrison Smith

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