The cornerback has not come close to the expectations he was given when the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Another week in the Minnesota Vikings’ schedule has gone by and another game featuring Trae Waynes falling behind in coverage is in the books.
He was drafted for his speed and size by the Vikings back in 2015, but those factors do not really matter when Waynes continues to let opposing receivers get open either behind him or in front of him. The way he performed on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers was nothing out of the ordinary for the young corner.
Despite his constant mistakes, Minnesota and head coach Mike Zimmer continue to give Waynes chance after chance to redeem himself. But there has been no sign of redemption from the young cornerback so far.
After sitting on the bench for the majority of his rookie season with the Vikings, Waynes was able to get on the field a little more in 2016. He appeared in 15 games and started in nine of them, ending his year with 47 tackles, 11 pass deflections, and three interceptions.
Still, his on-field inexperience showed last season and opposing offenses made sure to exploit it. Each game, he saw a pass come his way every 4.9 snaps.
Unlike his fellow Minnesota corner Xavier Rhodes, Waynes is certainly is not one to use a lot of physicality when in coverage. He can get grabby at times, but whenever he matches up with a big, physical wide receiver, Waynes is normally on the losing end of that battle.
So far during his short NFL career, he has had his share of bright moments. But he has yet to put together a string of games in which he constantly performs on a high level.
Two weeks into the 2017 season, it is much of the same. When a team has opted to take a chance on a deep pass against the Vikings this season, it has mostly been to a receiver that Waynes is covering.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, their young corner is not off to a good start this year. In two games this season, Waynes has allowed opposing receivers to catch passes of 52 yards and 51 yards, and he has also been called for two defensive pass interference penalties.
After allowing Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant to burn him for a 51-yard pass last week, Waynes was taken off the field for the remainder of the series and replaced by Mackensie Alexander.
It is starting to feel like Waynes’ chances to be a starter on the Vikings’ defense are beginning to run out.
His tasks are not about to get any easier this season either. His coverage assignment for Minnesota’s upcoming game in Week 3 will likely be speedy Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson.
If Waynes ends up getting beat deep for the third straight week, his time as a starter for the Vikings will likely be over.