It’s not a corner that will command a massive salary in free agency this offseason but perhaps a player needing a fresh start similar to Rashaan Melvin this past summer.
Trae Waynes hasn’t lived up to his draft hype coming out of Michigan State, but he may benefit from having a new start. Perhaps returning ‘home’ to play for the Detroit Lions could rejuvenate his career?
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The Detroit Lions will need to add a corner in free agency so they might as well keep their eye on Waynes as a potential upgrade to Melvin. If all goes as planned, Detroit will have rookie Amani Oruwariye starting opposite Darius Slay next season. Justin Coleman will continue to work out of the slot, but Detroit may have a severe issue if all-pro corner Darius Slay decides to once again hold-out seeking a new contract.
The Lions will need additional help either within the NFL Draft or free agency. Waynes has had an up and down career that’s left him in and out of head coach Mike Zimmer’s lineup over the years. Zimmer is a defensive first head coach; he calls the Vikings defensive plays, so when a player is struggling, they need to answer directly to the head coach, not a coordinator.
Waynes was drafted with the 11th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He’s forced into a starting role once again today with both Mike Hughes and Mackensie Alexander nursing injuries. Both players were forced to miss last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
Trae is coming off of another mediocre 2019 season. He produced a career-high 60 tackles forced 2 fumbles and made 1 interception. He’s always graded out very well in run defense. He’s a corner that helps in the run game. His pass coverage is a question mark once again. He allowed a mountainous 109.9 passer rating against.
He was targeted 84 times, allowing a career-high 61 catches totaling a career-high 653 yards and 5 touchdowns. As you can see, he’s not a player that should be left alone in man coverage, but in Detroit, IF Slay returns, safety help over the top will remain an option. Or perhaps the first corner off the bench.