Cleveland Browns: 5 biggest injury risks in 2021
4. Denzel Ward
When he’s on the field, Denzel Ward is one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. His slight frame has not yet been a problem as far as injuries go (matching up against bigger wide receivers is a slightly different story), but he’s dealt with soft tissue injuries each year of his career. He missed three games in 2018 (concussions), four in 2019 (hamstring), and five in 2020 (calf and groin).
One of those five was due to a stint on the COVID-19 list, and he was not available for Cleveland’s Wild Card domination of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s practically impossible to predict injuries, but it does seem like Ward will miss time in 2021 simply based on his history. Yet while the soft tissue straints are frustrating, but at least he hasn’t had any issues stemming from that ill-advised tackle in his first preseason game that hurt his back (knock on wood).
If Ward can stay healthy, he has a chance to ascend to the very top of the cornerback rankings, as he’s likely to play a higher percentage of man coverage thanks to a massive influx of talent all around the defense. Ward is fine in zone, but elite in man, and should be able to show that more.