1. Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward
Denzel Ward is Cleveland’s No. 1 corner, yet there was Houston and Tyrod Taylor making a point to target the fourth overall pick from the 2014 draft.
Taylor was successful, of course, going after Ward three times on Houston’s first touchdown drive. Fans are perplexed as to why Ward was playing such soft coverage. At times, it looked like War was playing 5-7 yards away from his man.
In total, Ward surrendered a team high six receptions for 99 yards into his coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. The defense is obviously a work in progress, but yikes. What the heck’s going on out there?
Ward will be due a contract extension soon, and it’s worth the conversation to ask whether he’s an elite corner. He can be very good, but I don’t think he’s hit that rarified air just yet. The Browns have already picked up his fifth-year option, so he’s here for next year.
Ward deserves a little slack, just as the rest of the defense tries to get on the right track. It’s going to take a little time, but hopefully everyone’s clicking down the home stretch.