2. Denzel Ward, CB
Baker Mayfield made the headlines as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the Browns had another selection at No. 4 overall. That’s where they decided on Denzel Ward, the speedy quarterback out of Ohio State.
There were cries for defensive end Bradley Chubb and the team later admitted that they were considering the North Carolina product but their need at cornerback was the tiebreaker. Ward didn’t take long to prove the team made a solid choice as he was the starter in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was the AFC Rookie of the Week after covering Antonio Brown and recording two interceptions.
From there, he continued to cover the best receivers in the league and continued to hold his own. He’ll continue that role in 2019 as the “Warden” is the clear-cut No. 1 corner on this team and even with Greedy Williams now in town, he’s going to be one of the most vital players on the entire team.
During the coming season, Ward is going to draw matchups with wideouts such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, A.J. Green, Marquise Brown, Brandin Cooks, Larry Fitzgerald, and possibly Josh Gordon if his suspension is lifted. Ward being able to hold his own will be important as the defense looks to improve this year.