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Browns Select Ohio State CB Denzel Ward with Fourth Overall Pick

After taking Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick, the Browns went defense with their fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, taking cornerback Denzel Ward from Ohio State.

Here’s a scouting report on Ward:

Ohio State has been a factory of NFL talent, and that has especially been the case under Urban Meyer. During the 2016 season, the Buckeyes had a standout NFL secondary with three first-round talents at cornerback and one at free safety Malik Hooker. Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley were the starting corners on the outside, with Denzel Ward serving as the nickel corner. That trio of first-rounders was excellent, and Ward totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up in 2016.

With Lattimore and Conley moving on to the NFL, Ward became Ohio State’s No. 1 cornerback and had an excellent junior season. Ward totaled 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. In the 2017 season opener against Indiana, Ward notched an interception, four tackles and five passes broken up. He also was beaten for a touchdown and some other receptions by big Indiana receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. Ward had problems with Cobbs’ size, but was good at preventing separation. After that game, Ward was very good and consistent throughout the season at locking down receivers and keeping them from getting open. He put on a clinic in the Big Ten Championship game with an excellent performance in what was his final collegiate game.

For the NFL, Ward is man-cover corner. He is very fast with quick feet, loose hips, and easy acceleration. With his skill set, Ward is superb at running the route with receivers to prevent separation. He is adept at playing off-man coverage and running with fast wideouts downfield. Ward is reliable to handle the speed receivers in one-on-one coverage without getting safety help over the top. He transitions well in routes and will sit on routes to challenge receivers. Ward also has good ball skills with impressive timing on his contact and the hands to be an interception threat.

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