Report: Browns Wanted Bradley Chubb, Changed to Denzel Ward on NFL Draft Day

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Ohio State's Denzel Ward poses with his Cleveland Browns jersey during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns went quarterback (Baker Mayfield) with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft Thursday night, but it was what they did with the fourth pick that caught some people by surprise.

The Browns selected Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward over North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb.

Cleveland Browns @Browns

“With the fourth pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select ... Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State” 📺: NFL Network/FOX https://t.co/gMTmm2zAZj

According to Pro Football Talk, Cleveland had been leaning toward selecting Chubb as recently as Thursday morning. However, a late change of heart led to the hometown kid getting the nod.

Chubb was viewed by many as one of the top prospects in this year's draft class, with Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranking the former Wolfpack star second behind Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Many figured the Browns would take the best player available at No. 4 even if it wasn't necessarily a need.

The Browns decided to address an area of need, however, by bolstering their secondary. The team's pass defense finished 19th in the league in 2017. Ward was the top cornerback and the No. 9 overall prospect on Miller's big board.

For Cleveland fans wondering why a 5'11", 183-pound cornerback was taken instead of the 6'4", 269-pound edge-rusher, coach Hue Jackson believes Ward can be a difference-maker in the defensive backfield, as relayed by the Browns' Patrick Maks:

Patrick Maks @maksimuspatrick

Hue on Denzel Ward: "You're talking about one of the best pure corners in this draft."

The former Buckeye went to high school just 30 minutes outside of Cleveland.

Denzel Ward @denzelward

No Better Place Like Home!! #GoBrowns! https://t.co/w3599MQW8O

The Browns have known for months that they have had two of the top four picks in the draft. That's plenty of time to rank quarterbacks and non-quarterbacks so they would be ready to go when they went on the clock. However, it apparently wasn't until draft day that the team settled on its second pick.

Now, Cleveland fans are left wondering what could have been with a defensive line featuring both Chubb and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett. Chubb was selected one pick later at No. 5 by the Denver Broncos.