After a historically bad defensive year for Cincinnati in 2019, the Bengals made it clear to the NFL community that they were going all-in on defense in 2020. The front office did this by adding solid defensive veterans.
The main additions to the defense were defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, linebacker Josh Bynes and safety Vonn Bell. Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin and his staff not only added great veteran talent, but they also brought in leaders.
The free-agent signees were not only supposed to improve the defense but also teach the younger players the ropes. Unfortunately for the Queen City, injuries would be the downfall on defense. Waynes was the only guy the orange and black faithful didn’t get to watch at all during the 2019 season.
The standout CB suffered a torn pectoral muscle which would require surgery. This injury would bring back bad memories for Bengals fans, due to the fact that back in 2016 first-round pick William Jackson III would miss his entire rookie season with the same injury.
Bengals fans will undoubtedly be looking forward to watching Waynes next to rising star Jackson III during the 2021 season, assuming the club is able to re-sign him this offseason.
Trae Waynes struggled in the season prior to joining the Bengals
Waynes played in 14 games and started in all of them during the 2019 season. He would combine for 58 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception on the season. These numbers are alright but where it gets bad for Waynes is the percentage of passes he allowed to be completed.
Waynes was targeted 96 times for 71 completions, amounting to 74 percent. Waynes is near the bottom of the league for CBs in completion percentage allowed. Waynes would finish with the 52nd worst completion percentage per target in the league.
What should the orange and black faithful expect from Waynes?
The Bengals should expect Waynes to try to revive his career in Cincinnati. Waynes has the potential to be a lockdown CB. Even if Waynes isn’t as good as or even better than Jackson III, he will be a great running mate next to him.
Waynes has shown promising flashes throughout his career, but can he do that throughout an entire season? That’s the question the Queen City will be asking. With any luck, the answer is yes. Waynes will be fighting for the city of Cincinnati’s respect. Hopefully, he will earn it by the end of the 2021 season.
If Waynes fails to live up to expectations, who knows if Mike Brown will ever spend big-time money on free agents again, due to the fact that two of their biggest 2020 signings were sidelined with injuries for most of the season.