Denzel Ward
refer to caption
Ward in 2018 training camp
No. 21 – Cleveland Browns
Personal information
Born: (1997-04-28) April 28, 1997 (age 23)
Macedonia, Ohio
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Nordonia (Macedonia, Ohio)
College:Ohio State
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
* Cleveland Browns ( 2018–present)
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
* Pro Bowl (2018)
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:53
Forced fumbles:1
Fumble recoveries:2
Pass deflections:11
Player stats at

Denzel N. Ward (born April 28, 1997) is an American football cornerback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State.

Early yearsEdit

Ward attended Nordonia High School in Macedonia, Ohio.[1] He played cornerback and wide receiver for the Knights football team. 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.[2]

College careerEdit

Ward attended and played college football at Ohio State under head coach Urban Meyer.[3] As a true freshman at Ohio State in 2015, Ward played in 12 games, recording seven tackles.[4][5] As a sophomore in 2016, he played in all 13 games and had 23 tackles. Ward became a starter as a junior in 2017.[6][7] Entering the 2018 NFL Draft, Ward decided not to play in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.[8]

College statisticsEdit

Ohio State Buckeyes
Year GP Tackles Interceptions
Total Solo Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs
2015 11 7 5 2 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2016 13 23 12 11 0.0 0 9 0 0 0.0 0 0
2017 14 37 30 7 0.0 0 15 2 0 0.0 0 0
Total 38 67 47 20 0.0 0 24 2 0 0.0 0 0

Professional careerEdit

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

30px External video
16px Denzel Ward's NFL Combine Workout
16px 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.[12][13] 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[14][15]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 10⅞ in 183 lb31¼ in8¾ in 4.32 s 1.47 s 2.48 s 39 in 11 ft 4 in 16 reps

The Cleveland Browns selected Ward in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.[16] 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.[17]

30px External video
16px Browns draft Denzel Ward 4th overall
16px NFL Draft Profile: Denzel Ward

On July 24, 2018, the Cleveland Browns signed Ward to a fully guaranteed four-year, $29.16 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $19.29 million.[18][19]


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.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] Overall, he finish his rookie season with 53 tackles, three interceptions, 11 pass deflections, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in 13 games, of which he started 12.[23] He was named to the Pro Bowl and the NFL All-Rookie Team.[24][25]

Career NFL statisticsEdit

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
G GS Comb Total Ast Sack PD Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR
2018 CLE 13 12 53 41 12 0.0 11 3 26 8.7 26 0 1 2


  • Pro Bowl – (2018)
  • 2x Defensive Rookie of the Week (Week 1, 2018 and Week 5, 2018)


  1. 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".
  2. Beaven, Michael (June 19, 2014). "Nordonia’s Denzel Ward commits to play football at Ohio State".
  3. "Denzel Ward College Stats" (in en).
  4. Lesmerises, Doug (March 31, 2016). "Denzel Ward is Ohio State's fastest player, but is that enough to start for the Buckeyes?".
  5. Jablonski, David (March 28, 2016). "Ohio State football: Speedy CB Ward ready to emerge".
  6. Landis, Bill (March 21, 2017). "Is Denzel Ward, now Ohio State's top corner, actually as good as Marshon Lattimore?".
  7. Lesmerises, Doug (August 19, 2017). "The top 50 Ohio State football players for 2017: No. 10, CB Denzel Ward".
  8. Lesmerises, Doug (December 29, 2017). "Denzel Ward, Ohio State cornerback and likely first-round pick, sitting out Cotton Bowl".
  9. Myers, Jacob (December 29, 2017). "Football: Denzel Ward declares for NFL draft, forgoes senior season and sits out Cotton Bowl".
  10. Chassen, Alexis (September 9, 2018). "Meet the Browns’ Denzel Ward, the next great NFL DB out of Ohio State".
  11. " 2018 NFL Combine: Top Performers". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  12. Hope, Dan (April 5, 2018). "Denzel Ward set to visit five teams with top-12 picks, including Cleveland Browns, per report".
  13. Arcia, Gil (April 15, 2018). "Denzel Ward visiting the Bucs this week".
  14. "The 2018 NFL Draft Big Board, Vol. 2".
  15. Mayock, Mike (April 20, 2018). "Mike Mayock's 2018 NFL Draft position rankings 3.0".
  16. Sessler, Marc (April 26, 2018). "Browns choose CB Denzel Ward with No. 4 selection".
  17. "Ohio State Drafted Players". Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  18. Cabot, Mary Kay (July 25, 2018). "No. 4 pick Denzel Ward signs his Browns rookie contract worth about $29.2 million". The Plain Dealer.
  19. " Denzel Ward contract". Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  20. Edwards, Josh (September 2, 2018). "Sunday's Browns 53-Man Roster".
  21. Glasier, David (September 9, 2018). "Denzel Ward excels in Browns tie with Steelers" (in en). The News-Herald.
  22. Maya, Adam (October 10, 2018). "Drew Brees, Isaiah Crowell among Players of the Week".
  23. "Denzel Ward 2018 Game Log" (in en).
  24. "2018 NFL Pro Bowlers" (in en).
  25. "2018 NFL All-Rookie Team" (in en).

External linksEdit

Template:2017 NCAA Division I FBS College Football Consensus All-Americans Template:2018 NFL Draft


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