5. CB Denzel Ward, 2018 – 4th Overall
I’ve called Denzel Ward inconsistent before, that’s true. I’ve also said that his inconsistency levels range from as high as an All-Pro in the NFL, to as low as an NFL starter. So I feel like I’ve been pretty fair with Ward.
Ward is among the best defensive players the Browns have seen since 1999, period. Let alone the ones they drafted, let alone again among the ones drafted in the first round. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler and a former member of the NFL All-Rookie team.
Now Ward has a huge contract, the largest in NFL history and we’re left wondering if he’s going to be able to earn his Scrooge McDuck level of money. His place on this list is going to be the most in transition in a few years, specifically due to that massive contract. Either he leaps up further, as he’s proven to have earned the money or he falls to the Gerard Warren tier due to never living up to his lofty contract and getting run out of town due to it.
One of those things is bound to happen, it’s not a matter of it, just which one. Hopefully, he earns the money and rides off into the sunset as a future Hall of Famer, but only time will tell.