Denzel Ward Drafted by Browns No. 4; Twitter Explodes After Shocking Selection

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward plays against Michigan State during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Cornerback Denzel Ward was selected by the Cleveland Browns with their second pick, No. 4 overall, in the 2018 NFL draft.

Ward joins quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was selected with the top pick, as the two anchors of Cleveland's draft class. 

Here's the reaction from social media after Ward was announced as the Browns' pick:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Browns sticks at No. 4 and take the top CB on the board — #OSU CB Denzel Ward. Their target all along. Easy call and higher than most teams.

Cleveland Browns @Browns

Welcome home, @denzelward! https://t.co/bbrD5FV7Ye https://t.co/H8awFEdikX

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Browns take Ohio St CB Denzel Ward - with the pick they got from Houston for last year’s 1, DeShaun Watson.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ https://t.co/8OUJtI3b0z

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

THE Ohio State remains in Ohio! Browns select CB Denzel Ward with the No. 4 pick (@RamTrucks) https://t.co/sthjACWJMu

ProFootballTalk @ProFootballTalk

Browns were heavily leaning Chubb this morning per source. During the day they changed their mind to Ward.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Denzel Ward is the No. 4 overall pick by the Browns. He is the 18th defensive back selected in the first round out of Ohio State in the Common Draft era, five more than any other school. https://t.co/8CiSIgwijr

Michael Lombardi @mlombardiNFL

Denzel Ward over Chubb, Smith and Nelson. Okay then.

Dane Brugler @dpbrugler

Denzel Ward might already be the best cornerback on the #Browns roster. So while I'm surprised they didn't go Chubb, it's not a complete shock considering the CB depth chart.

Ohio State has been churning out first-round draft picks like no other school in the country in recent years. Ward becomes the fifth member of the Buckeyes secondary to be selected in the first 32 picks since 2016.

Three of them came last year, with Marshon Lattimore going No. 11 to the New Orleans Saints, Malik Hooker going No. 15 to the Indianapolis Colts and Gareon Conley going to the Oakland Raiders at No. 24.

B/R's Matt Miller offered a glowing scouting report that will have Browns fans excited to see what Ward brings to the table in the NFL:

"Denzel Ward was a starter for just one year at Ohio State, so it's OK if you aren't super familiar with him yet or are a little confused about listing him as the No. 10 overall pick. Trust me on this—you will be hearing a lot more about him from now until the draft.

"Ward is a touch undersized at 5'11", 190 pounds, but he's...quick, aggressive and athletic. Playing at the line of scrimmage, he's able to use his length and toughness well in press coverage. You can't watch Ohio State film without marveling at his recovery speed and instincts."

The Browns will be hoping for Ward's unique playmaking skills to provide a boost to their secondary. He was a playmaker extraordinaire in his final season at Ohio State, recording 15 passes defensed and two interceptions in 14 games.

Given the way Ward was able to step up for the Buckeyes after last year's talent exodus, jumping to the NFL shouldn't overwhelm him.

The Browns made the passing game a priority with their top picks in this draft. Mayfield will be assigned the task of becoming their franchise quarterback after winning the Heisman Trophy last year at Oklahoma. 

Ward, meanwhile, gets to stay in Ohio to become the anchor of the Browns' secondary. That group finished 19th in passing yards allowed last season but allowed an NFL-worst 68.6 completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks.