MINNEAPOLIS -- A quick observation of first-round pick Trae Waynes and how he's played through three weeks of camp.
As we at ESPN's NFL Nation assess the 32 first-round picks at this point in the preseason, it's probably wise to apply a caveat to the Minnesota Vikings' Waynes: The first cornerback taken is playing a position that's notoriously difficult to master as a rookie.
The Vikings have put Waynes in several different cornerback spots so far in his time with the team, trying to teach him the entire defense, and they've got the luxury of taking their time with the Michigan State product because of established corners such as Xavier Rhodes, Terence Newman and Captain Munnerlyn on the roster. But there's no denying the fact Waynes has had some rough moments in his introduction to the NFL.
He was penalized three times in the Vikings' first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, including once for defensive holding on Shakim Phillips' sensational one-handed catch. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston targeted Waynes three times on one drive in the Vikings' win against the Buccaneers, connecting on a 40-yard throw to Vincent Jackson against him. The Vikings kept Waynes out of the slot Saturday night against Oakland, and he played better as the team let him focus on just one spot, making a nice play to close on a sideline throw from Christian Ponder and break up the pass.
Waynes is still learning the nuances of playing corner in the NFL, though, and he's likely got some more tough moments ahead of him.
"I think he's starting to [look more comfortable],"coach Mike Zimmer said. "It's still a process with him, like it is with all of the young guys. I'm not sure that any of the rookies are not having to work through some of the process."