NFL Nation mock draft: Explaining Trae Waynes pick to Vikings

NFL Nation mock draft: Vikings select CB Trae Waynes

Vikings reporter Ben Goessling breaks down his first-round selection.

BRISTOL, Conn. -- The way their roster is set up, the Minnesota Vikings could go a handful of different directions with the 11th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night and likely be happy with the result.

An offensive lineman such as Iowa's Brandon Scherff could jump in at left guard and shore up a weak spot in the Vikings' protection scheme. The team could add a pass rusher such as Clemson's Vic Beasley, Missouri's Shane Ray or Nebraska's Randy Gregory. And a receiver such as Louisville's DeVante Parker, who played with Teddy Bridgewater in college, would provide another weapon for the second-year quarterback.

But in the end, when I made the 11th pick in our ESPN NFL Nation Mock Draft on Monday, I opted to bolster another key area of the defense, selecting Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes.

Waynes' name has been a popular one in mock drafts this spring, and if the Vikings were able to pair him with Xavier Rhodes, they'd have two young, big, physical corners who can run. He would need to get stronger and become more disciplined in his technique in the NFL, but the Vikings have taken several steps toward shoring up their secondary since Mike Zimmer became head coach, and Waynes would represent another major resource committed to a key position.

Having Waynes and Rhodes, along with Captain Munnerlyn, Terence Newman and Josh Robinson, would give the team an impressive and deep group of corners for 2015. Four of those five would be 27 or younger by the start of the season, and the Vikings would be well-equipped to deal with the passing games they see in the NFC North.

Beasley and Scherff were gone when I made my pick, while Parker went to the Dolphins at No. 14. Gregory and Ray slipped to the Cardinals at No. 24 and the Broncos at No. 28 respectively -- and for the purposes of this mock draft, we weren't allowed to make trades. It's certainly possible the Vikings could take one of those players on Thursday and come away feeling good about what happened. But if Waynes is the pick, the Vikings will have turned one of their biggest weaknesses from several years ago into a foundation for their future.