Ravens: 4 rookies who could earn starting jobs in 2021

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4. Shaun Wade, CB, Baltimore Ravens

Shaun Wade was, at one point, seen as a surefire first-round prospect and one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football.

And then his junior year happened.

Primarily a slot corner prior to 2020, Ohio State tried him on the boundary and he struggled mightily, tanking his draft stock in the process.

But if he could regain his pre-2020 form, Wade could prove to be one of the steals of the draft. Especially if the Ravens plan to move him back to nickel cornerback, which they seem to believe is his best fit.

General manager Eric DeCosta had the following to say about the team’s fifth-round pick.

"“A nickel corner, a slot corner, two years ago really excelled as one of the best corners in football. [We’re] excited to get him. He’s played a lot of good football in a very good conference.”"

The Ravens are expected to hand the starting nickel job back over to Tavon Young who is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in September of last year.

Young has played just two games since 2018 after missing all of 2019 with a neck injury and pretty much all of 2020 with his ACL tear, the second of his career.

There’s no guarantee that Young stays healthy meaning that Wade could earn a starting job by virtue of an unfortunate opportunity.

It’s also far from a certainty that Young is on the roster in 2022 as he will be entering the final year of his contract and could become a cap casualty.

That decision would be made easier if Wade steps up and wrestles away the starting job in his rookie season.