The New England Patriots are adding a high-potential rookie to their cornerback room.
The Patriots are finalizing a trade for Baltimore Ravens corner Shaun Wade, according to a report Thursday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The Ravens reportedly will receive a 2022 seventh-round pick and a 2023 fifth-rounder in the deal.
Wade was considered a potential first-round prospect a year ago but dropped to the fifth after a rough final season at Ohio State. The Ravens drafted him with the 160th overall pick, and he’s posted impressive numbers in his first NFL preseason.
Playing mostly as an outside corner, Wade intercepted the only target he’s seen in coverage through two games, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Patriots’ cornerback depth has been iffy all summer with 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore sidelined since the start of training camp. Gilmore remains on the physically unable to perform list and has yet to practice. He also reportedly is unhappy with his current contract, which is set to pay him just $7 million in base salary this season.
If Gilmore is not removed from PUP by next Tuesday, he will be forced to sit out the Patriots’ first six games. In his absence, Jalen Mills and Joejuan Williams have been the team’s top outside options opposite starter J.C. Jackson.
Top slot corner Jonathan Jones also left Thursday’s joint practice with the New York Giants with an apparent lower leg injury. Wade played more than 80 percent of his snaps in the slot in 2019, according to PFF, and has experience at safety, too. He shifted outside for the Buckeyes ahead of the 2020 season and struggled.
PFF’s 2021 draft guide called the 6-foot-1, 196-pound Wade “one of the best tackling CBs” in this year’s draft.
“Wade has the athletic traits and length to stick with routes up and down the field, but his fundamentals quickly break down and he is too reactionary at the top of routes,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in his draft guide. “While his versatility to play anywhere in the secondary is a positive trait, he hasn?t shown a natural feel at any specific position. Overall, Wade is an intriguing talent with his size, athleticism and ball skills, but his lax technique/awareness and uneven compete skills make him an enigma regarding his ideal NFL position and development trajectory.”
The Patriots will visit the Giants on Sunday in their preseason finale.