According to Baltimore Ravens’ insider, Jeff Zrebiec, the New England Patriots have finalized a trade for rookie corner Shaun Wade. Wade was the Ravens’ fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Without further ado, let’s dive into the trade details, the fit, and the overall trade grade.
New England received Shaun Wade, while Baltimore received a 7th-round pick in 2022 and a 5th-round pick in 2023.
Shaun Wade’s fit with the Patriots
Wade is a very intriguing young player. After his 2019 season with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Wade looked like a potential first-round pick. Unfortunately for him, his draft stock took a nosedive after a poor 2020 season.
It’s notable that Wade’s best seasons in college came as a slot corner. In 2020, Wade played outside corner and was exposed throughout the season. Even so, through two preseason games with the Ravens, Wade has played most of his snaps out wide. He’s been good in that role too. In fact, he’s yet to allow a reception in preseason action.
In New England, Wade could have various roles. The reason being, the Patriots desperately need depth in the secondary, specifically at corner. On the outside, Stephon Gilmore is still out and there’s been no timetable set for his return. Additionally, the current depth on the outside, Jalen Mills and Joejuan Williams have had their fair share of struggles in training camp.
Wade has the frame to play outside, he’s 6’1″ with 33.50″ arms, but he needs to become much more technically sound to successfully perform on the outside. Luckily, the Patriots have a great defensive staff led by Bill Belichick, that can help develop Wade.
At slot, the Patriots have a reliable starter in Jonathan Jones and a good backup in Myles Bryant. The issue is, Jones recently went down with an injury in a joint practice with the New York Giants. The severity of the injury is unknown, but if he has to miss any period of time, Wade can add depth to the position. Even if Jones is completely healthy, Wade still offers slot versatility which is always a plus. As previously mentioned, Wade played his best football at slot in college.
It’s worth mentioning that Wade also projects well as a safety. He hasn’t taken many snaps at the position, but he’s an excellent tackler and has the physicality and size to be able to compete in the box.
The versatility, Wade brings is of value to the Patriots. Yes, Wade isn’t a sure thing, he’s more of a project, but if Belichick can coach him up, he could become a nice chess piece for the secondary.
Grading the Patriots trade for Shaun Wade
For the Patriots’ this is a low-risk high-reward move. The compensation given up isn’t anything worth losing sleep over if Wade doesn’t pan out. If Wade does pan out though, New England got a young versatile secondary piece on a rookie contract for a measly 5th and 7th round pick. We’ve seen the Patriots make these types of trades often over the years with varying levels of success and this is another example of that.
Bottom line: It’s hard to dislike the trade. New England desperately needed corner depth and they got some. The next step for Wade will be showing enough in the next couple of days to earn himself a roster spot.