Ohio State corner Shaun Wade goes to Baltimore Ravens in fifth round of NFL draft
Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade might have been a first-round pick had he entered last year’s NFL draft.
A different fate awaited him this week.
Wade waited until the draft’s third day before he was selected with the No. 160 overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens. Eight of his teammates heard their names called before Wade did on Saturday.
While he remained on the board for a couple of days, Wade said he kept patience, knowing a team would eventually grab him.
"It’s just a blessing to be drafted and part of the one-percenters," Wade said. "That’s what one of my coaches texted me, that you got to enjoy that moment that you’re part of the one-percenters. This is everybody’s dream to be drafted and only 32 go in the first round. So just being able to be drafted is a blessing. I’m just excited."
Wade's draft stock suffered from inconsistency last season as he switched positions from slot cornerback to outside cornerback.
Though named a consensus All-American and the first Ohio State player to be selected as the Big Ten’s defensive back of the year, intercepting a pair of passes in consecutive late-season games, Wade gave up a lot of big plays in pass coverage.
In eight games, he allowed seven touchdowns. While in the slot the previous season, he gave up only one touchdown.
He was limited by injuries in 2020, especially a turf toe injury that restrained him in the final three games, he said in an interview with The Dispatch earlier this week.
But he was able to go through pre-draft testing and ran the 40-yard dash at a pro-day workout at Ohio State in 4.43 seconds last month.
In Baltimore, Wade said he is willing to line up at any position in the team’s secondary, mentioning slot cornerback, outside cornerback and safety as possibilities.
“At the end of the day, if I have to play inside, I’ll play inside,” Wade said. “If they need me at corner, they need me at corner. If they need me at safety, I got safety. I still got versatility, and I still can do everything.”
A more pressing concern than his position, he added, is a return to full strength following last fall's nagging injuries.
"My No. 1 thing is to be healthy," Wade said, "and when I’m healthy, you get the best Shaun Wade."
The selection also reunites him several of his former teammates at Ohio State in running back J.K. Dobbins and linebacker Malik Harrison, who were both drafted by the Ravens last year.
Wide receiver Binjimen Victor was also on their practice squad in 2020.
"I'm excited to be back with my guys, especially J.K.," Wade said. "Me and J.K. got some stories back to freshman year."