Cleveland Browns: Top 20 All-Time first-round draft picks
Cleveland Browns top first-round draft picks All-Time No. 13: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Back in 2018, the Cleveland Browns started to see their fortunes change. After years of seeing Sashi Brown hoard draft picks, they finally had someone in charge with an impressive background when it came to building a roster — John Dorsey.
Armed with the No. 1 and No. 4 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Dorsey took Baker Mayfield first. And while the selection of Mayfield might have been a slight surprise (it shouldn’t have been, but it was) there was even more uncertainty around what he was going to do at No. 4.
Cleveland fans were split, calling for either Bradley Chubb from North Carolina State (the cousin of Nick Chubb who joined them in Round 2 that year) and Denzel Ward from the Ohio State University. Dorsey ended up pulling the trigger on Ward, giving them a potential shutdown corner with 4.32 speed.
Ward quickly won the starting job and in his debut game with the Browns, he had to face Antonio Brown in his prime. The rookie was up to the task, recording eight tackles and two interceptions on the day. He did give up one touchdown but still allowed just 47 yards and had the two big plays.
Since then, Ward has only gotten better for Cleveland. He’s the leader of their secondary and can go toe-to-toe with any wideout in the NFL. His one knock is his durability (11 missed games in three seasons) but there’s no denying that he’s already one of the best in the game and still improving.