While his wait lasted much longer than most would have guessed a year ago, Shaun Wade has been selected in the NFL draft.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Wade with the No. 160 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft on Saturday.
Wade is the ninth Buckeye selected in this year's draft, joining first-round pick Justin Fields, second-round picks Pete Werner and Josh Myers, third-round picks Wyatt Davis, Trey Sermon and Baron Browning, fourth-round pick Tommy Togiai and fifth-round pick Luke Farrell.
With Wade's selection, Ohio State has now had at least one defensive back selected in eight consecutive NFL drafts.
Ohio State's nine selections in the first 160 picks were the most of any school.
Wade joins three of his former Ohio State teammates in Baltimore – J.K. Dobbins, Malik Harrison and Binjimen Victor – and he's excited about that.
“I'm just excited to be back with my guys, especially J.K.,” Wade said. “Me and J.K. got some stories from freshman year, and Malik was somebody that brought me in when I first got there.”
While Wade lined up at outside cornerback for the Buckeyes this past season, he could end up playing slot cornerback or safety at the next level. Wade played all three positions at Ohio State, and even though he earned All-American honors in 2020, his final season with the Buckeyes was widely viewed as a disappointment compared to his play inside in 2018 and 2019.
That's why Wade, who was projected as a potential first-round pick entering his final season at Ohio State, ended up having to wait much longer to hear his name called. Nonetheless, his versatility and physical skill set – he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 6-1 and 196 pounds at his pro day – give him the upside to be a difference-maker in an NFL secondary.
Per Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the Ravens – who already have two established starters outside in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters – intend to play him as a slot cornerback or safety. Wade maintains he's capable of playing anywhere in the secondary, though, and is willing to line up wherever the Ravens want him to.
“If I have to play inside, I'll play inside. If they need me at cornerback, they need me at corner. If they need me at safety, they need me at safety,” Wade said after being drafted. “I've still got versatility, and I still can do everything. My No. 1 thing is be healthy, and when I'm healthy, you'll get the best Shaun Wade.”
Although Wade probably would have been selected earlier if he entered the 2020 NFL draft, Wade has maintained that he has no regrets about playing another season with the Buckeyes and that the adversity he faced this past season – when he battled through groin and turf toe injuries – have helped prepare him for the challenges he'll face at the next level.
“It's just a blessing to be drafted,” Wade said Saturday. “I'm part of the one-percenters. That's what one of my coaches texted me today, you've gotta enjoy the moment that you're part of the one-percenters, and this is everybody's dream, just to get drafted.”
Over the course of his three playing seasons at Ohio State, Wade played in 35 games and recorded 91 total tackles, five tackles for loss, six interceptions, 19 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He scored the lone touchdown of his Ohio State career with a 36-yard pick-six against Indiana last season.