Name: Shaun Wade
Height/Weight/Projected 40 yd dash: 6’1”/194 lbs/4.50 secs
School: Ohio State
Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Rounder
Shaun Wade starred at cornerback for a high school football powerhouse in Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. They won the Florida State Championship during all four of his years. He committed to Ohio State University along the way. After a stellar senior season, he was named USA Today High School Football Player of the Year in 2016. Wade was a 5-star recruit and ranked as the #2 cornerback in the nation, only behind fellow 2017 Ohio State Buckeye recruit, Jeff Okudah, who was the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
Wade would redshirt his first year at Ohio State in 2017 and go on to appear in all 14 games in his redshirt freshman season, accumulating 31 tackles, 3 interceptions and 7 passes defensed. He would be regarded as one of the up-and-coming stars in college football at his position after an outstanding year in 2018. He followed up his redshirt freshman season by earning 3rd Team All-Big Ten honors in 2019, finishing the season with 25 tackles, 2 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. Although regarded as one of the nation’s best cornerbacks, Wade’s lack of speed would rear its head against some of the nation’s speedier and shiftier receivers.
In a shortened 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wade earned consensus All-American and 1st Team All-Big Ten honors as part of a Buckeyes team that would go all the way to the CFP National Championship Game, only to lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide, 52-24. Wade’s flaws showed once again as he had no answers for Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith. Smith would finish the game with 12 receptions, 215 yards, and 3 touchdowns, despite only playing in the 1st half. Wade would finish his redshirt junior season with 20 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3 passes defensed.
- Best-suited as a nickel corner
- Great size and length
- Good strength for the position
- Great physicality in press situations
- Above-average athleticism
- Locates and plays ball well
- Has good closing speed
- Good tackler for his position
- Excellent play recognition (especially with screens)
- Effective against the run
- Very good awareness in zone coverage
- Shown the ability to force turnovers
- Excels at reading QB’s eyes
- Effective as a blitzer
- Struggles playing outside the numbers
- Lacks speed
- Doesn’t play with a high motor
- Lacks quickness
- Very stiff lower body
- Can get off balance in man coverage
- Struggled mightily against the best of receivers at college-level
Pro Comparison: Jalen Mills. Lacking top-end speed, both Mills and Wade make up for it with their toughness in press situations and their willingness to make strong tackles in the run game. Jalen Mills has shown to be a very versatile player throughout his career. He played cornerback early in his career and has transitioned to the safety position over the past few years. Wade projects to be a similar type of player, as his limitations athletically and struggles playing on the outside could force him into a positional switch in the NFL.
Game to Watch: Ohio State vs. Cincinnati, 2019. In an explosive Ohio State rout of Cincinnati, Wade showcased the versatility he brings to the table as a defender, making 5 tackles (1 TFL) to go along with 2 passes defensed and a sack. Wade flashed as a dangerous blitzer from the cornerback position, as he anticipated a snap count early in the 2nd quarter, exploding into the backfield rushing towards QB Desmond Ridder’s blindside. He forced a sack fumble that would end up being recovered by the offense.
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