Ravens: Shaun Wade trade is great news for Ar’Darius Washington

Ravens, Shaun Wade (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Shaun Wade (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens made the surprising decision to trade rookie cornerback Shaun Wade to the New England Patriots on Thursday. They did so, in part, due to their confidence in their other young defensive backs.

And one player who has a real chance to shine in the absence of Wade is undrafted rookie Ar’Darius Washington.

Washington was the most high-profile undrafted signing the Ravens made shortly following the 2021 NFL Draft. Seen as an early Day 3 prospect by most, Washington surprisingly went undrafted, likely due to his small stature.

But the former TCU star has quickly proved that the NFL made a mistake. Washington has impressed when given the opportunity this summer.

And his emergence likely made the Ravens’ decision to move on from Wade that much easier. In fact, his performance might have been the catalyst behind Baltimore’s decision.

The Ravens traded Shaun Wade in part due to the emergence of Ar’Darius Washington

Washington wasn’t the only young defensive back on the roster bubble to play well this summer. The towering Chris Westry has shined in training camp and likely played a role in Wade’s trade.

Others such as Geno Stone and Nigel Warrior also outplayed Baltimore’s fifth-round pick. It’s not as if Wade was particularly bad, it’s just that the team had better options.

With an abundance of young defensive backs playing well, Wade was the odd-man-out. The fact that they were able to get two draft picks for him speaks to the competence of Eric DeCosta and the entire front office.

But while Wade’s departure was the result of stellar play from a number of players, no one will benefit more than Washington.

A standout safety at TCU, Washington excelled as a do-it-all playmaker in college showing off his range and versatility. And he’s done just that since arriving in Baltimore.

The Ravens have used Washington at both safety and in the slot this summer, and it’s the latter that demonstrates exactly why they felt comfortable moving on from Wade.

Washington has played a total of 25 slot snaps in the preseason so far — second only to third-round rookie Brandon Stephens. Wade, on the other hand, played just two snaps in the slot this preseason.

It was clear who the Ravens preferred in that role.

Realistically, there were around five players who the Ravens felt more comfortable giving slot snaps. Tavon Young, Stephens, Washington, Anthony Averett, and even Marlon Humphrey would have likely been given the chance to play in the slot before Wade.

He didn’t have a role on the team. And his departure means that Washington, a player who was fighting for a roster spot this summer, now does.

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Ar’Darius Washington stands to benefit from the Shaun Wade trade for multiple reasons. Not only is he seemingly guaranteed a roster spot now, but he should also be able to solidify a role on defense.