After a strong performance from both Denzel Ward and Genard Avery in Week 1, the two Cleveland Browns rookies top the Pro Football Focus rookie rankings
In Week 1, the Cleveland Browns did something pretty amazing — they ended a losing streak without winning a game. By now, we all know they tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but despite not getting the win there were plenty of positives to take away.
One thing that stood out was the play of the rookies who were on the field for the Browns. No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward stood out with his two interceptions, but he also added another pass break up and six tackles.
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According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), these performances were good enough to have them ranked No. 1 and No. 2 for all rookies in Week 1.
Ward spent the entire day covering Antonio Brown, who is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. He may have given up a score to him, but for his first game ever in the NFL it was an insanely good performance.
Cleveland took Ward with the intention of him shadowing the opposing team’s No. 1 wideout and it took no time at all for him to show he could do that.
As for Avery, he’s listed as a linebacker but built like a defensive lineman. The Browns deserve credit for understanding that he’s best served using his strength to rush after the quarterback right now and he did a great job in that area.
Cleveland fans should be excited about the promise this team showed on Sunday. The young players are already paying dividends and things are looking up for the Browns thanks to the young talent brought onboard this offseason.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.