NFP Prospect Focus: Trae Waynes and Kevin Johnson

The 2015 NFL Draft is a good year for corners, but not a great year. As many as four could go in the first round, and you can bet that anywhere from 12 to 15 will be drafted in the first three rounds. Why? Because it plays out this way every draft going back at least 15 years. The problem with this class is there is not an elite player in the group. There are some very good players, but no one you can say will be a pro bowl lock. I will profile two of the best in this class including the player who many consider to be the number one corner in this class, Trae Waynes from Michigan State. Trae Waynes – DC – Michigan State Waynes is a fourth-year junior and a three-year starter for the Spartans. He is tall with length and looks like a smooth athlete on the field. While he looks smooth, he didn’t test that way at the Combine At Indy, Waynes's 40-yard speed was among the best at the position. He ran 4.35 and 4.32 in his two tries. He also had very good jumps, posting a 38” vertical jump and a 10’2” standing long jump. His agility drills were more on the average side with a 4.39 20-yard shuttle and a 7.09 3-cone. The slow 20-yard shuttle time can indicate some tightness in his hips. That said, you don’t see that in his play. To his credit, Waynes re-tried the 20 yard shuttle at his pro day and responded with a 4.18 time, looking much better. On the field, Waynes is a smooth athlete with loose hips. He stays low in his pedal, has a quick turn, and a very good burst coming out of his turn. His transition is very good. In coverage, he is a consistent zone player who keeps good position and is very good with press coverage. He has good ball skills and has good hands. Best of all, he has a short memory in that he can bounce back quickly from a poor play. On the down side, he has a slender frame and will need to add some strength and bulk. He can be slow shedding blocks at times and will miss some tackles If he add some upper body strength, the missed tackles should go away. With his height and length, Waynes can play man coverage versus tall receivers and hold his own. He is a smart player who doesn’t let a mistake bother him. He has been well coached and should be able to come in and play right away. While he may not ascend to a number one corner for a club, he will be a very solid number two. CHICAGO: SCOUTING BOOTCAMP IS COMING THIS MAY! CLICK FOR MORE INFO Kevin Johnson – DC – Wake Forest The more tape I watch on Johnson, the more I like him. He has height and length and can match up versus tall receivers. The only thing that Johnson lacks is elite speed. He ran 4.52 at the Combine, and that time could prevent him from going in the top 20. Clubs would prefer a corner who runs in the 4.4’s. Still, the rest of his Combine results were outstanding and among the best of the corner group. He timed 3.89 in the 20 yards shuttle and 6.79 in the 3-cone which show that he has outstanding quickness and body control. He is also very explosive with a 41.5” vertical jump and a 10’10” standing long jump. Those jumps would indicate that he has more speed than he showed. I’m surprised he didn’t run again at his pro day. On the field, Johnson plays with a strong jam, he tries to re-route receivers and plays a physical style game. He is smooth with his pedal and turn and takes no extra steps when he transitions. In coverage, he is equally proficient in zone, off, and press and is very consistent. He has very good ball skills and good hands. While he may have a bit of a slender frame, he is an aggressive run support player and a fairly good tackler. Once he gets to the NFL, he will need to add some bulk and strength but his overall play will get him on the field quickly. I really like his aggressive on field demeanor and he could very well be a top special teams players early in his career. I see him coming in and being able to start right away. He plays press coverage as well as any corner in this draft. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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