Bill Belichick is wheeling and dealing with the preseason drawing to a close. A day after trading running back Sony Michel to the Rams in exchange for multiple draft picks, the Patriots are making a trade with the Ravens that sends rookie cornerback Shaun Wade to New England, as first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. In the deal that has since been confirmed by Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens will receive a 2022 seventh-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick from New England.
A fifth-round pick out of Ohio State, Wade has enjoyed a solid preseason with the Ravens. His interception off of Saints rookie quarterback Ian Book sealed Baltimore's 17-14 win in its preseason opener. Through two preseason games, Wade had the second-highest grade versus single coverage among rookie defensive backs, according to Pro Football Focus.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, the 6-foot-1, 194-pound Wade recorded three interceptions, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and 31 tackles during his first season at Ohio State. In 2019, Wade broke up eight passes to go with one interception, two sacks, one forced fumble and 25 tackles. A slot corner as a sophomore, Wade moved to the outside in 2020. While his had some growing pains, Wade still finished his junior season with two interceptions, three passes defensed, 20 tackles along with scoring his first and only collegiate touchdown.
"He is physical and willing to aid in run support," noted CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Josh Edwards.
New England's cornerback depth chart currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Jalen Mills. The Patriots' defense finished eighth in the NFL in passing yards allowed and fifth in touchdown passes allowed during the 2020 season.
Despite his early promise, the Ravens depth at his position has apparently made Wade expendable. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh recently lauded his team's competition at cornerback. Along with Wade, fellow cornerbacks Nigel Warrior, Chris Westry and fellow rookie Brandon Stephens have also had impressive training camps.
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"[They're making it] very difficult, very difficult," Harbaugh said of his young cornerbacks, via Sports Illustrated's Todd Karpovich. "It's a great problem to have. It's the problem that you work very hard to have in terms of acquiring players and developing player, and all the things we do in the weight room, the meeting room [and] the practice field to help those guys be the best they can be.
"The effort they put in to play like that and to see them play like that is really rewarding. It's a great problem, but it's a tough problem."
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