Why the Slide?: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Under former head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes were factory for good NFL talent at cornerback. Players like Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward, Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette were top-20 picks in recent years, and many expected Shaun Wade to keep that tradition alive in the 2021 NFL Draft. Wade has a good skill set with size and speed, but he didn’t impress in 2020 when he moved to the outside as a replacement for Okudah/Arnette. Still given Wade’s physical talent, many thought he would go in the top half of the draft, but he ended up sliding to the fifth round.

Team sources said Wade’s tape killed his draft grades around the league. His struggles in 2020 saw him placed on the Day 3 slots of draft boards, and his issues in coverage were too alarming for teams to take a chance on him in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. Wade is tall, big, and has speed, but he has issues running with receivers and not giving up separation. Hence, pro evaluators worry he won’t be transition to the NFL and be capable of covering pro wideouts.

The Baltimore Ravens ended Wade’s fall in the fifth round, and they are a a fine landing spot for him. Wade was better in 2019 when he was a slot corner between Okudah and Arnette. He also showed some flexibility to play some safety, and with the Ravens, he could be a backup slot corner and safety. Fortunately for Wade, Baltimore is strong at outside cornerback with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. That will allow Wade to compete for the backup slot behind Tavon Young. Wade has a good skill set to develop, and he could be a nice behind-the-scenes project for the Baltimore coaching staff. Having experience as a slot, outside corner, and safety could help Wade show the flexibility to serve as a backup at a few spots. Proving he has the ability to contribute on special teams in training camp will be vital for Wade to make the final roster and be a developmental project as a fourth or fifth backup cornerback.

2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 23

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12