3 current Cleveland Browns who benefit most from free agency additions
By Randy Gurzi
Browns benefiting from free agency: No. 2 - Denzel Ward, CB
Taken at No. 4 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Denzel Ward was actually their second selection as they went with Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall. Now in 2023, he's outlasted Mayfield but still hasn't claimed the top spot when it comes to selections from that year thanks to Nick Chubb.
While Chubb is the more popular player, Ward has held his own. He even did enough to earn a massive five-year extension worth $100.5 million before the start of this past season. As fate would have it, Ward then turned in one of the least efficient performances of his career.
The Ohio State product had good numbers with 53 tackles and three picks but it seemed as though he gambled far too often which resulted in his man breaking free for a big gain. Ward was then criticized for not taking the blame, often defending himself and saying he knew what his assignment was.
In the end, he might have been correct. Perhaps Ward was given the green light to attack the ball with the expectation that he had safety help over the top. The problem was, the Browns safeties were far from effective in 2022.
The good news for Ward, and the rest of the corners in Cleveland, is that Juan Thornhill was added in free agency and he's much better suited for the single-high role than John Johnson III was. His presence should give Ward the same freedoms while limiting the impact on him making the wrong bet when gambling on the pass.