New England Patriots finalize Shaun Wade trade with Baltimore Ravens

It’s been quite a precipitous fall for ex-Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade, who went from a hopeful first-round prospect before last season to a Day 3 draft pick. Now, he’s being traded before his rookie season in the NFL.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the New England Patriots are finalizing a trade for Wade with the Baltimore Ravens:

Wade was a fifth-round pick by the Ravens, but as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reported Thursday, Baltimore engaged in trade talks largely due to a defensive back surplus:

With how pass-heavy the best modern NFL offenses tend to be, it’s a nice problem to have when a team has too many quality players on the back end of its defense.

Ravens stars Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey already form one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. Long-tenured veteran Jimmy Smith is also in the mix at corner, along with Anthony Averett and nickelback Tavon Young, whose 2020 season was cut short by a knee injury.

Pro Football Focus highlighted how well Wade has played during the preseason, which should have Patriots fans optimistic that he’s trending in the right direction:

Although New England has decent depth to its secondary, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore isn’t happy with his current contract situation, and is still rehabbing an injury. He could eventually exit via trade very soon, or in free agency next offseason.

J.C. Jackson has worked his way into a star player for the Patriots despite entering the league in 2018 as an undrafted free agent.

The possibility of losing Jackson and Gilmore in short order is plenty of incentive for New England to invest in its defensive backfield. Plus, Patriots slot corner Jonathan Jones is nursing a leg injury from Thursday’s practice, too, per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable.

Wade obviously has the physical tools to be a solid pro. It’s a matter of being consistent from down to down and playing with proper technique.

Given the detail-oriented approach of legendary coach Bill Belichick and how the “Patriot Way” has developed many an unheralded player in the past, Wade has as good of a chance to realize his full potential in Foxborough as anywhere else.

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