Talk about a whirlwind couple of days for New England Patriots cornerback Shaun Wade.
Wade was traded from the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday afternoon, practiced with the Patriots for the first time Friday and made his New England debut Sunday night, playing more than 50 percent of defensive snaps in a 22-20 exhibition win over the New York Giants.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Wade, a rookie fifth-round draft pick, has been able to adjust quickly to his new defensive setting.
“Well, it was our only chance to get him any playing time here,” Belichick said Monday in a video conference. “He played with the Ravens earlier in preseason. But we got him in — we kind of rushed him in. (Cornerbacks coach) Mike (Pellegrino) spent a lot of time with him the last couple days, just trying to catch him up on some things so he would have an opportunity to play.
“So it was good to get him some game action where he could hear the call and start to play the defense in real games, as opposed to practice settings where things are a little more controlled. It was good to get that experience. Obviously, he’s got a long way to go to catch up. But he’s a smart kid, he works at it and I think he’ll be able to pick things up. It’ll just take a little bit of time, but he seems to pick things up pretty quickly.”
Wade played 39 snaps on defense and six more on special teams against the Giants and did not look overmatched or overwhelmed. His lone glaring error came in the game’s final seconds when he allowed a 43-yard touchdown pass to Damion Willis. Wade recovered to help force an incompletion on the ensuing two-point conversion.
The Patriots gave up two draft picks (a 2022 seventh and a 2023 fifth) for Wade, making him a roster lock as Tuesday’s cutdown deadline approaches. The former Ohio State standout once was considered a likely first-round prospect before a disastrous final season with the Buckeyes tanked his draft stock.
“Shaun was a player that we liked in the draft,” Belichick said Sunday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Patriots pregame show. “He has some versatility, played really all the corner positions at Ohio State, inside and outside. He’s a smart guy and can pick things up, multiples up. Obviously played at a high level of competition. I’m happy to have the opportunity to add him to our group.”