Ward in 2018 training camp
|No. 21 – Cleveland Browns|
|Born:||April 28, 1997|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||190 lb (86 kg)|
|High school:||Nordonia (Macedonia, Ohio)|
|NFL Draft:||2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2018|
Ward attended Nordonia High School in Macedonia, Ohio. He played cornerback and wide receiver. He also ran track. As a senior at the Division 1 region 1 finals, he ran a personal best time of 10.49 seconds in the 100 meters, placing 1st. His personal best in the 200 meters is 21.38 seconds, in which he placed third at the state championships. He committed to Ohio State University to play college football.
As a true freshman at Ohio State in 2015, Ward played in 12 games, recording seven tackles. As a sophomore in 2016, he played in all 13 games and had 23 tackles. Ward became a starter as a junior in 2017. Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, Ward decided not to play in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
|Ohio State Buckeyes|
On December 29, 2017, Ward released an official statement through his Twitter account announcing his decision to forgo his senior season and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. Ward also decided to skip the Cotton Bowl Classic. Ward attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and completed the majority of combine drills, but opted to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill. His overall performance impressed scouts and helped solidify his position as the top cornerback prospect. Ward tied for first, among all players, in the 40-yard dash (4.32s) and his broad jump (11'4") was the best among all players, regardless of position. He also tied for second in the vertical jump (39") among his position group and tied for eighth in the bench press (16 reps) among cornerbacks who participated.
|Denzel Ward's NFL Combine Workout|
|Denzel Ward's 40-yard dash|
Ward attended pre-draft visits with multiple teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Ward was projected to be a top ten pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked as the top cornerback prospect in the draft by Sports Illustrated and NFL analyst Mike Mayock and was ranked as the second best cornerback by DraftScout.com.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 10 7⁄8 in
|31 1⁄4 in
|8 3⁄4 in
|4.32 s||1.47 s||2.48 s||39 in
|11 ft 4 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
The Cleveland Browns selected Ward in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ward was the first defensive back drafted in 2018 and became the highest selected cornerback from Ohio State since Shawn Springs, who was selected third overall in the 1997 NFL Draft.
|Browns draft Denzel Ward 4th overall|
|NFL Draft Profile: Denzel Ward|
Ward entered training camp slated as the No. 1 starting cornerback on the depth chart after the departures of Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor. Head coach Hue Jackson named Ward the starting cornerback to begin the regular season, alongside Terrance Mitchell.
He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Cleveland Browns' season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers and recorded six combined tackles, broke up three passes, and made two interceptions during their 21–21 tie. Ward made his first career interception off a pass attempt by Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, that was originally intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown, in the first quarter. On October 7, 2018, Ward recorded five combined tackles, tied his season-high of three pass deflections, made one interception, and a blocked field goal in a 12–9 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens. His performance earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Career NFL statistics
- Rozboril, Robert (July 19, 2014). "Nordonia WR Denzel Ward is bound for Ohio State, has sights set on higher goals: 31 in 31 football series". Cleveland.com. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- Beaven, Michael (June 19, 2014). "Nordonia's Denzel Ward commits to play football at Ohio State". Ohio.com. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- Lesmerises, Doug (March 31, 2016). "Denzel Ward is Ohio State's fastest player, but is that enough to start for the Buckeyes?". Cleveland.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Jablonski, David (March 28, 2016). "Ohio State football: Speedy CB Ward ready to emerge". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Landis, Bill (March 21, 2017). "Is Denzel Ward, now Ohio State's top corner, actually as good as Marshon Lattimore?". Cleveland.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Lesmerises, Doug (August 19, 2017). "The top 50 Ohio State football players for 2017: No. 10, CB Denzel Ward". Cleveland.com. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- Lesmerises, Doug (December 29, 2017). "Denzel Ward, Ohio State cornerback and likely first-round pick, sitting out Cotton Bowl". Cleveland.com.
- Myers, Jacob (December 29, 2017). "Football: Denzel Ward declares for NFL draft, forgoes senior season and sits out Cotton Bowl". thelantern.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "Meet the Browns' Denzel Ward, the next great NFL DB out of Ohio State". sbnation.com. September 9, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "NFL.com: 2018 NFL Combine: Top Performers". NFL.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "Denzel Ward set to visit five teams with top-12 picks, including Cleveland Browns, per report". elevenwarriors.com. April 5, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "Denzel Ward visiting the Bucs this week". bucsnation.com. April 15, 2018. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "The 2018 NFL Draft Big Board, Vol. 2". si.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- Mayock, Mike (April 20, 2018). "Mike Mayock's 2018 NFL Draft position rankings 3.0". NFL.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- "NFL Draft Prospect Profile - Denzel Ward". nfl.com. March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- "Ohio State CB Denzel Ward : 2018 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". NFLDraftScout.com. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
- Sessler, Marc (April 26, 2018). "Browns choose CB Denzel Ward with No. 4 selection". NFL.com.
- "Ohio State Drafted Players". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- Cabot, Mary kay (July 25, 2018). "No. 4 pick Denzel Ward signs his Browns rookie contract worth about $29.2 million". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
- "Spotrac.com: Denzel Ward contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- Edwards, Josh (September 2, 2018). "Sunday's Browns 53-Man Roster". 247sports.com. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
- Glasier, David. "Denzel Ward excels in Browns tie with Steelers". The News-Herald. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- Maya, Adam (October 10, 2018). "Drew Brees, Isaiah Crowell among Players of the Week". NFL.com.