Cleveland Browns: Missing on Johnson opens door for Denzel Ward

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Denzel Ward (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Denzel Ward (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Could missing out on cornerback Trumaine Johnson in free agency lead to the Cleveland Browns drafting Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick?

One of the biggest names in 2018 free agency was Trumaine Johnson. He didn’t stay available long and wound up signing on with the New York Jets, which was disheartening considering the Cleveland Browns had interest in him. Johnson also would have filled a huge need for the Browns.

The pairing made sense as Johnson played his best football while working with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the Rams. Williams is now on the sidelines for the Browns while manning the same role.

Johnson may have found himself a home, but the Browns still need to fill a void. Could that possibly lead to them going for Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?

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Ward is widely regarded as the best corner in the draft and showed amazing athletic ability while playing for the Buckeyes. He was behind Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore before this season, so his starting experience is limited, but that doesn’t mean Ward can’t come in and compete immediately. He’s also got the skill to play outside and the speed and instincts to cover receivers in the slot.

While many mock drafts have Cleveland going with a quarterback with their first pick, the No. 4 selection has varied. One of the more popular names has been Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, but Cleveland may have put a stop to that rumor recently.

During their recent trade frenzy, the Browns picked up Green Bay Packers defensive back Damarious Randall.

They reportedly plan to move him from cornerback to free safety, which was his original position while playing collegiately at Arizona State. Fitzpatrick can play either corner or free safety, but is a more natural safety. That means he may also be out as a the No. 4 pick, again giving credence to Ward.

Next: How missing out on Allen Robinson impacts the Browns

The Browns could do much worse than Ward at this spot, and despite missing on Johnson, they could still massively upgrade their secondary with this move.