Trae Waynes turns in fastest 40 for CB

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

As he walked away from the media area of Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, former Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes declined to say how fast he expected to run the 40-yard dash.

Waynes ended the suspense Monday when he ran it in 4.31 seconds, officially, at the combine, likely solidifying his spot as the top cornerback in April's draft.

Waynes' time was the second-fastest at this year's combine behind Alabama-Birmingham receiver J.J. Nelson. Former Spartans running back Jeremy Langford was tied for 10th with his 4.42, giving Michigan State the fastest cornerback and running back.

On a teleconference Monday, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said he thought the 6-foot, 186-pound Waynes was the No. 2 cornerback in the draft behind Washington's Marcus Peters, but Waynes' speed should help him go ahead of Peters, who was dismissed by the Huskies in November after multiple clashes with the coaching staff. Peters's official 40-yard dash time was 4.53 seconds.

"Peters has got some baggage, behavioral issues, and Waynes doesn't," McShay said. "Waynes is a clean slate and has the work ethic that you look for. He's well-coached; I think he takes well to coaching, you can tell. He does a lot of the little things well, very efficient with his movement.

"I think there's a little bit more tightness there than you'd like to see at times, comparing him to an elite, elite cover corner. But I think he's absolutely fast enough, has the length, has the ability to be a good starting cornerback in the league."

McShay thinks the highest Waynes could go in the draft is No. 11 to the Vikings. Other teams in need of a cornerback, according to McShay, are the Saints at No. 13, the Dolphins at No. 14, the Steelers at No. 22, the Lions at No. 23 and the Ravens at No. 26.

"I'm guessing that he's not going to get through the first round," McShay said.

Cornerback isn't the Lions' top need with concerns on the offensive line and at defensive tackle, but they could look for a long-term replacement for Rashean Mathis, whom they hope to re-sign in free agency.

The other top cornerbacks behind Waynes and Peters are Florida State's P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby, LSU's Jalen Collins and Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson.