The Cleveland Browns had the fortunate opportunity of having the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and made the most of the opportunity.
Shortly after selecting Baker Mayfield with the first overall selection, the Browns selected Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward with the fourth overall selection.
Ward was the top rated cornerback in the draft by many experts and is the fourth Ohio State cornerback in the last three drafts to be selected in the first round, joining Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley.
While he’s undersized at 5’11 and 183 pounds, Ward is a physical, fast corner who was deemed “gifted” by his position coach at Ohio State a year ago. He was a first team All-American with 37 tackles, two interceptions and 15 pass breakups.
In his sophomore season, he was a limited player but earned honorable mention in the Big Ten with nine pass breakups that was tied with Lattimore for the team lead in that category.
He showed off his athleticism at the combine with a 4.32 forty, 39 inch vertical and a broad jump of 11’4.
Ward should be a Day 1 starter at cornerback for the Browns in Gregg Williams defense. He’ll compete with EJ Gaines, TJ Carrie and Briean Boddy-Calhoun for the starting position and with his skillset, Ward should be one of two starters at the position by Week 1.
On a side note, this is the first Buckeye the Browns have drafted since Brian Robiskie in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
The narrative that the Browns don’t draft Buckeyes can end.
Also, Ward is from Macedonia, Ohio and attended Nordonia High School so it’s awesome to see the Browns select a local kid that’s talented after previous regimes have passed up local talents like Kareem Hunt and Malik Hooker.
So far through the NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have improved their team with two talented prospects.