After opting to stick around at Ohio State for 2020, Shaun Wade has seen his draft stock take a noticeable hit. Now Wade could see himself as one of the draft’s top sleeper picks just weeks out. And despite a lackluster 2020, one year does not tell the whole story for the Ohio State corner.
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Name: Shaun Wade
School: Ohio State
Class: Redshirt Junior
Weight: 195 lbs
Man Coverage (7/10)
Wade had some brutal showings in one-on-one coverage in 2020. Playing in the slot beforehand, Wade would move outside with Ohio State’s losses of Jeffery Okudah and Damon Arnette. This transition would not do any favors for Wade’s draft stock. In Ohio State’s playoff matchup against Clemson, Trevor Lawrence would pick on Wade repeatedly. Receiver Cornell Powell would have a field day against Wade that evening. However, Wade, in his previous two years at Ohio State, looked vastly more promising. There is cause for concern with his man coverage from 2020. Those concerns could be remedied, depending on where he lines up.
Zone Coverage (8/10)
In the zone plays that showed up, Wade showed the ability to pass off his initial man and lock into his assignment.
Change of Direction (7.25/10)
Wade can lose touch with faster receivers while he is turning the corner both ways. An occasion where this came up was against DeVonta Smith in the National Title Game. Smith blew right by Wade deep on the outside near the end of the first half. Defending curl routes is also a problem that popped up when Wade was not in the slot.
Ball Skills (8.25/10)
In his final three seasons, Wade was a menace in getting the ball back to Ohio State’s offense. In that span, he totaled six interceptions and had three fumbles forced to boot. A problem for Wade has been dropping interceptions. While that is fixable, it could turn some teams off. On the flipside, Wade does a good job at batting balls when he is in a position.
Crafty route runners can find ways to get open on Wade. Whether it be by fancy footwork or stop and go’s, Wade could use some improvement in this area.
Run Support (8.25/10)
Wade is more than a willing participant in the run game. His most notable highlight in this area was stuffing Najee Harris in the backfield in the National Title Game. Outside of that, Wade was mainly seen as a contain guy in the run game when he was close to the line of scrimmage. Some bigger receivers can get the better of him in the blocking game, but Wade can hold his own.
This is the part of Wade’s game that jumped out the most. Wade consistently shows exceptional wrap-up ability and can occasionally lay the wood even at his size. Now and then, he whiffs on tackle attempts when he is in space, but not to an alarming extent. Another piece of Wade’s puzzle is coming into the backfield as a blitzer. This was seen a great deal in 2019, causing lots of problems for opposing quarterbacks whenever called upon.
Route Recognition (7.25/10)
This is another case of Wade’s slot tape looking better than his outside tape. On the outside, Wade would over-commit to defending the intermediate/deep plays and paid the price for it often. When in the slot, route recognition was not much of an issue.
Nothing about Wade screams freak athlete but has more than enough physically to check all the boxes he needs to. However, he did run a 4.43 40-Yard Dash at his pro day while having turf toe, mind you.
When Wade makes plays, he will let you know about it. That is not a bad thing. Whether it be by getting into someone’s face or strutting down the sideline, Wade plays with a healthy level of emotion.
Wade ended up being knocked out of his true freshman year midway with a shoulder injury, forcing a redshirt year. His father took to Twitter in January to state that his son had surgery before and after the college tilt. Wade is also currently dealing with turf toe, which cost him the first of two Ohio State Pro Days.
Shaun had major surgery before the season & having another surgery on something different now.He went thru season in pain.. No one knows it's so funny sometimes I wish he would have said f. it! But he did the best he could in pain. He will play numerous positions on next level!
— Randy L Wade💯%🐐 f@❌ℹLy….. (@gslsff) January 26, 2021
Deciding to return to Ohio State for another year certainly cost Wade a shot to be a first-round selection. But his tape from years prior should hopefully get teams excited about possibly selecting him. Wade could turn into one of the draft’s top steals if he can shake off his 2020 performance, whether at cornerback or maybe even at safety at the pro level.
Final Grade (79.25/100): Mid Third Rounder