The Vikings took cornerback Xavier Rhodes in the first round in 2013, and he looks to be a star on the rise. Their other starting corner last season was Captain Munnerlyn, who turns 27 in April. As the Pioneer Press noted, Munnerlyn now might be better-suited to a role as a nickel cornerback. At the least, there is no doubt Waynes' upside is better than Munnerlyn's. Pairing Waynes with Rhodes likely would interest defense-minded Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, considering Minnesota is in a division that includes Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler.
Waynes (6-foot-0 1/8, 186 pounds) had a strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. He went into the combine in the mix to be considered the top corner, and his performance in Indianapolis put him atop most cornerback lists. There had been questions about his straight-line speed, but he turned in a 4.31 clocking in the 40, had a vertical jump of 38 inches and also impressed with 19 reps in the bench press at 225 pounds.
Waynes -- a high school teammate of Melvin Gordon's in Kenosha, Wis. -- started for two seasons at Michigan State and left school after his junior year. Waynes ranks 10th on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the top 50 players available in the draft. Fellow analyst Bucky Brooks has Waynes as the No. 2 corner and says Waynes has "the physical traits needed to thrive as a No. 1 corner as a pro. He is a standout bump-and-run defender, yet he displays the footwork and movement skills to be an effective 'off' corner."
He would be the second Michigan State cornerback selected in the first round in as many years; Darqueze Dennard was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals in last year's draft. As with Dennard, it has been noted that Waynes likes to use his hands downfield, which would lead to penalties in the NFL. But former Michigan State defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio (now the coach at Pitt) wanted his DBs to play that style.