BEREA: Trevin Wade believes he has been overlooked, underrated and dismissed throughout his football career.
He received only two out of five possible stars from Rivals.com when the website evaluated him as a prospect at Stony Point High School in Round Rock, Texas. The ranking prompted Wade’s nickname -- “Two Star.”
“I just used that as a chip on my shoulder to bring my way through college,” Wade said.
After spending four seasons at the University of Arizona, Wade nearly went undrafted in April. The Browns picked him in the seventh round, 245th out of 253 selections.
“I still have that chip,” Wade said. “I’m ‘Two Star’ still and going in the seventh round, I still have something to play for, something to prove.”
Wade may be getting his chance to show the NFL what he’s got.
Dimitri Patterson injured his right ankle in the Browns’ preseason opener Friday against the Detroit Lions and sat out practice Sunday.
Meanwhile, Wade surprisingly surpassed second-year pro Buster Skrine to fill Patterson’s role as the nickel cornerback for the first-team defense. It’s evidence of the progress Wade has made since training camp began in late July.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur declined to reveal how much time Patterson is expected to miss. If he’s sidelined for a while, it would be another major blow to the defense, especially because starting cornerback Joe Haden is reportedly in danger of receiving a four-game suspension after testing positive for the prescription drug Adderall in the offseason.
In other words, the Browns might be forced to thrust Wade into a prominent role during his rookie season. Wade’s audition will continue Thursday night, when the Browns visit the Green Bay Packers.
Shurmur said the starters will play the first two quarters against the Packers. If the Browns continue to use Wade like they did on Sunday, he’ll work with the first unit Thursday and cover whichever receiver lines up in the slot.
“I’m just going with the flow right now,” Wade said. “Wherever coach is putting me, I’m just trying to pick up on the game faster, so if I do get thrown in the fire, I’ll be fine.
“I knew coming in here that I was gonna get limited reps, and I just knew I was gonna come in and make the most of my reps. If something else happens where my reps increase, then I’m gonna continue to try to make plays on those increased reps.”
Wade has impressed the coaching staff.
“He has a really good understanding and a really good feel for the game of football,” defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “He works at it in the classroom, takes notes. He’s very directed, very smart and very competitive. We think we’ve got a guy that can compete in the league. We’re really happy with that pick.”
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Wade also had a strong performance Friday against the Detroit Lions. He tallied three tackles and broke up two passes.
“I thought he did a good job,” Shurmur said. “They tried a double move on him. He was right there. They tried to throw a deep ball on him. He was right there. From what I could tell, he played pretty well. Then when I went back and watched the game in detail, it held up that way. He’s making good progress. He has a very, very good feel from the game, and I think it showed up the other night.”
Eric Hagg, the Browns’ projected starting free safety, has noticed Wade’s talent.
“He’s very technical,” said Hagg, whom the Browns drafted in the seventh round last year. “He knows what to do. He knows what’s happening out there. He’s like a ball hawk. He’s making a whole bunch of plays.”
Wade said he has made strides in the first 12 full-squad practices of camp.
“I think I’ve improved a lot,” he said. “When you first get here, it’s totally different from college. The speed’s different, plus I had to learn my plays. I think I have my plays down now. Now it’s just time to get used to the game.”
His next big test will be at Lambeau Field.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/browns.abj.