FOXBOROUGH — Cornerback Shaun Wade had quite the end to his summer.
On one of the final days of training camp with the Ravens, Wade arrived at practice only to learn from coach John Harbaugh that he was being traded to the Patriots. Wade, drafted in the fifth round this year, had only been with the Ravens for four months before he was moved in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick and a 2023 fifth-rounder.
“My mind was just everywhere,” Wade recalled Thursday. “I didn’t know where to go with my mind. I had an apartment down there, I was settled down there, and it just happened.”
The day after the trade, Wade arrived at Gillette Stadium for practice. Three days after the trade, he was at MetLife Stadium for an exhibition game. The rookie played 39 snaps (56 percent of the defense’s total) in New England’s preseason finale against the Giants, logging two tackles.
According to Wade, the Patriots equipped him to know just three calls ahead of that game.
For a 23-year-old rookie, the transition of acclimating to two NFL teams over the span of four months isn’t necessarily easy. While Wade noted his new teammates have been welcoming and helpful, he also shared that the Patriots and the Ravens operate differently, from playbook to practices to atmosphere.
“That adjustment, I’m not going to lie, is very, very hard,” Wade said.
Even the way the teams lift weights is different.
“Here, we do a lot of legs,” Wade said. “Every day is definitely a leg day here. I see they really want you to work on your explosion here. That’s the No. 1 thing.”
As he continues to get acclimated, Wade has turned to fellow cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills, and Jonathan Jones for guidance.
“Right now, I’m just trying to learn and grasp everything through them,” Wade said.
Wade already has a relationship with rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The two grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., and played on the same 7-on-7 team in high school. Wade still remembers Jones trash-talking opponents.
“Mac was the same Mac as he is today,” Wade said with a laugh. “Mac’s the same person.”
Once Wade feels comfortable within the defense, there may be an opportunity for him to contribute. The Patriots are not as deep at cornerback as they once were, with Gilmore on the physically unable to perform list and sidelined until at least Week 7.
As for what Wade’s role might be?
“Right now it’s just learning the defense and grasping it, and just keep on getting better every day.” he said. “When my number’s called, I’ve just got to make my plays.”
Wade played three seasons at Ohio State, where he was initially considered to be a first-round pick ahead of the 2020 season. But a number of factors, including personal situations and injuries, hindered his performance and dropped his stock.
Wade said he met with Patriots cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino ahead of the draft, and that Ohio State’s defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs told him the Patriots had interest.
“Shaun’s a smart dude, working hard,” Pellegrino said earlier this month. “I like him. He works really hard. I’m really excited to work with him every day. The extra work has been great, in practice, out of practice; a lot of extra tape keeping me on my game, too, which is awesome.”
Wade sounded pleased with where he landed.
“I just know you win here,” he said. “I’m a winner. I won four [high school] state championships, a Little League national championship, [three] Big Ten championships. I’m a winner and that’s all I care about is winning.”