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Why We Selected Trae Waynes

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As you saw yesterday, our first round pick in the 2015 SB Nation Writers Mock Draft came up, and with the pick we selected Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes. I'd like to take a little bit to go over exactly why we made the pick we did.

To review, this is how the scenario had progressed prior to our pick:

Pick Team Player
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
2 Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson
4 Oakland Raiders Leonard Williams, DT, USC
5 Washington Redskins La'el Collins, OL, LSU
6 New York Jets Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
7 Chicago Bears Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
8 Atlanta Falcons Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska
9 New York Giants Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
10 St. Louis Rams Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

The way the scenario played out, the two players we wanted the most went with the two picks before ours. The best-case scenario, in my opinion, is still Scherff somehow falling to #11, as he would immediately become the starter at left guard (with apologies to David Yankey and Joe Berger), and would potentially provide insurance at left tackle if Matt Kalil should continue to struggle. I'm still pretty surprised that the Redskins passed on him for Collins, quite frankly, to even give us hope that he could be there at 11. And despite White's workout at the Combine blowing everyone away, I'm still not compelled to put him ahead of Cooper at wide receiver. Still, it wasn't that surprising when the Rams snagged him at #10.

So, that left us with any number of options, and one that seemed particularly intriguing was Florida DE/OLB Dante Fowler. He was discussed, but he seems to be a bit of a "Combine riser," and I'm not really that sure where he'd fit into the Minnesota defense. I don't know if he could make the transition to 4-3 outside linebacker like Anthony Barr did last season, and if we're talking about putting him at defensive end, he'd have to be able to spend plenty of time at Brian Robison's current spot, as Everson Griffen is firmly entrenched at the right defensive end spot.

We also thought about Teddy Bridgewater's college teammate, wide receiver DeVante Parker. Parker obviously has everything that it takes to be a very good NFL receiver and to make an impact right away, but the wide receiver position is very deep in this year's class, and the Vikings could probably get someone later on in the selection process that could step in and contribute as well.

The cornerback position, on the other hand, does not seem to be quite as deep. Waynes is regarded by just about every scout that I've seen as the top cornerback prospect in this year's draft class, and by all accounts is the type of corner that can excel in the sort of aggressive, man-press scheme that Mike Zimmer and company like to run. He has the height (6'1") and the length to be able to match up with bigger NFL receivers, and though he might be a little on the light side, he's shown the ability to limit big gains after the catch and to come up and help in run support.

Having Waynes on the depth chart at cornerback would give the Vikings a different. . .and, likely, better. . .option in their nickel packages, as Waynes could come in across from Xavier Rhodes with Captain Munnerlyn moving inside. In the optimum, best-case scenario, Waynes would step in as the starter right away and relegate Munnerlyn to the slot on a permanent basis, which is probably where he should be anyway. Josh Robinson would end up being your fourth cornerback in that scenario and, if he can continue the resurgence he started last year, that's a pretty good scenario to find yourself in. With the division the Minnesota Vikings are in, you can't possibly be too deep in the secondary.

So, that's why we took Trae Waynes in the Writers Mock Draft over players like Parker or Fowler or even an offensive lineman. Our second round pick will be up and on the board on 7 April, as they'll be progressing with the three picks/weekday format until the first two rounds are complete.