The Cleveland Browns roster is filled with talented players and any one of them could be a candidate for the team MVP this season.
As we get closer to organized team activities and training camp, the buzz is building around the potential of this year’s Cleveland Browns team.
While some are cautiously optimistic, there’s no reason to believe the Browns will repeat the disaster of last season. The talent is there on paper and the coaching staff is upgraded from a year ago.
Kevin Stefanski having game day experience calling plays is an improvement and is expected to put players in the best position for the team’s success. Joe Woods’ experience as a defensive coordinator and position coach will help the Browns’ young defenders take the next step in their careers.
So what should we expect from the players? Dominance. The goal of a trip to Super Bowl LV may need to be tempered a bit, but this roster is more than capable of reaching the playoffs. Here are some early candidates for Browns MVP.
5. Denzel Ward
Denzel Ward was selected to his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season, so his ceiling is high. While some believed he had a drop off in production last season, his numbers were comparable to his rookie campaign. Ward allowed four fewer touchdowns and his pass rating allowed dropped from 72.8 to 62.2.
With Woods coming from the San Francisco 49ers, who led the league in pass defense last season, the Browns defense will hinge on the success of the secondary. Ward is the clear No. 1 cornerback and will have plenty of opportunities to display his talent against non-divisional teams, such as the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles.
One of Ward’s downfalls is his missed tackles. After suffering a concussion that forced him to miss time in 2018, it seems tackling has been at the forefront of his mind. Ward’s missed tackling percentage jumped from 16 percent in 2018 to 21.4 percent in 2019. He’ll need to develop confidence in a tackling technique this season.
The main issue for Ward is going to be his availability. He has missed a total of seven games in his two years in the league. If Ward can stay healthy, he can certainly be one of the top-five or ten cornerbacks in the NFL. He’s that good.