No. 6 – Denzel Ward
Like Jack Conklin, third-year defensive back Denzel Ward may be a bit high on this list as well. But, after struggling with injuries the last two seasons look for Ward to rebound and return to pro-bowl form like his rookie season.
Ward was the fourth overall pick by the Browns in 2018 and has been everything fans expected when he is on the field. Ward had a bad habit of tackling with his head down which has led to multiple concussions early in his career. With Ward 100 percent healthy to start the season, he will be ready to take the plunge as a lockdown corner.
With five interceptions in his first two seasons, Ward has a knack for the ball and excels in man and zone coverage. New defensive coordinator Joe Woods will work with both Ward and Greedy Williams on tackling and create a dynamic duo at cornerback for 2020.
No. 5 – Joel Bitonio
Perhaps the most underrated player in the entire NFL is Joel Bitonio. As a second-round pick in 2014, Bitonio has done nothing but show up and play for some bad Browns teams. He did face a couple of injuries which forced him to miss 17 games in two seasons, but other than that he has played all 16 games in the other four seasons.
Bitonio earned Pro-Bowl nominations in 2018 and 2019, but both were as an alternative. Bitonio is a powerful run blocker and has quick feet and strength in pass protection. There was discussion last offseason that he was talented enough to make the switch to left tackle if needed.
There is no doubt Bitonio has been a pro-bowl snub, but even an all-pro snub. Lack of success has been a huge downfall for Brown’s player’s accolades, but I think Chubb would agree that the Browns are lucky to have a talent like Bitonio on the roster.