Find somebody that loves you as much as Ohio State loves producing first-round cornerbacks in the NFL Draft. Since the 2016 NFL Draft, the Buckeyes boast six in the last five drafts. Although we’ve seen mixed results from the talent once they ascend to the NFL level, it’s difficult to make a case for a more prolific school at developing high-end talent in the secondary. Shaun Wade was meant to be Ohio State’s next NFL Draft darling. Where does his stock sit after a problematic season?
Shaun Wade NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Ohio State
- Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 195 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Shaun Wade Scouting Report
Positives: Physically talented cornerback who shows a physical nature to his game, mixes it up with receivers, and stays on the opponent’s hip out of breaks. Effectively brackets receivers over the middle of the field with safeties, displays a closing burst, and swiftly gets to the ball. Consistently gets his head back around to locate the pass in the air. Forces the action upfield when focused on his game. Effectively defends the run or screen passes. Strong and easily brings opponents down at the point of attack.
Negatives: Shows a lot of hesitation in his game. Played with a nonchalant attitude last year, seemed as though he was going half-speed, and gave up on plays rather easily. Inefficient and takes too many steps getting to the action.
Analysis: When breaking down Wade I saw two players on film. The first was a potentially dominant cornerback with the ability to shut down opponents with physicality as well as ball skills. The other prospect, and the one most prominent last year, played like an undrafted free agent that looked like he’d rather be elsewhere than the football field.
Shaun Wade Player Profile
Wade is an NFL Draft prospect that high school recruiting rankers can hang their hat on. During the recruiting process, he was a consensus five-star recruit among the three big recruiting sites. He was also a top-25 overall recruit in all three. He was named the 2017 Lockheed Martin defensive back of the year after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. His Trinity Christian Academy squad ran the table in his high school career, winning four straight state titles in Florida.
He was seemingly destined for greatness. He found playing time as a redshirt freshman in a secondary that boasted Kendall Sheffield, Jeffrey Okudah, and Damon Arnette is a testament to his ability and work ethic. It didn’t take long into his redshirt sophomore season for the draft hype to get to the heights of first-round “lock” as a slot cornerback that the masses believed could transition to the outside.
When Wade returned to Ohio State for his redshirt junior season, presumably, it was to get that much-needed experience on the outside. For a while, that plan was put in jeopardy by the ongoing worldwide circumstances. Wade opted out to focus on the NFL Draft. However, he didn’t sign with an agent and was then able to opt back in once the Big Ten resumed play.
Difficult season sees NFL Draft stock sink
If the expectation was that Wade would improve his NFL Draft stock in 2020, he fell short of expectation. Considerably short. It’s difficult to imagine that any prospect clouded their profile more than he did. The question mark over his ability to play outside was answered negatively. Both Ty Fryfogle (Indiana) and Jahan Dotson (Penn State) gave him nightmares that may well live with him forever.
Following the national championship defeat to Alabama, Shaun Wade intimated that he might return to Ohio State rather than declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. However, he ultimately made the decision to declare in mid-January. He leaves NFL teams with a substantial headache over his projection to the next level.
Shaun Wade NFL Draft best fits
There’s not a team in existence that couldn’t use more cornerbacks on their roster. Prior to the season, Wade’s versatility — from plugging the C gap against the run to playing outside corner to spinning back and playing safety angles like a natural — would have made him a desirable commodity for all 32 NFL teams.
However, if teams view him purely as a safety or slot cornerback after a treacherous season, then that limits his landing spots.
Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys have a massive need for bodies with circulating blood in the secondary. Other ideal NFL draft fits for Shaun Wade could be the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and San Francisco 49ers.
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