2018 NFL Draft: Scouting Denzel Ward

NFL Draft-2018 NFL Mock Draft

Ohio State
Cornerback #12
Junior, 5’10” 191 pounds

Strengths:

  • Long and lean with the athleticism handle duties in the slot and along the perimeter
  • Production a product of his aggressive, competitive nature when the ball’s in the air
  • Easy mover with fluid movement skills, equal feet and loose hips that serve as catalysts for his ability to consistently mirror releases with ease
  • Elite burst and closing burst are evident when transitioning from his pedal to his downhill pursuit
  • Brings a battle to the catch-point with impressive savvy to directly play through pass-catcher’s hands
  • Plants himself in receivers’ pockets and remains in-phase down the field to consistently keep him in position to make a play
  • Understands how his responsibilities work in space and how to utilize leverage to generate turnovers when trailing
  • Springy leaper who times his attempts on throws with optimal timing

 

Weaknesses:

  • Frame is on the thinner side with room for further development
  • Timing remains a noticeable issue when getting his head around and locating the ball
  • Can transfer power through contact when he has space, but physicality as a run defender runs thin
  • Lack of overall girth has served as a hindrance when pressing and jamming bigger receivers
  • Requires further refinement when connecting his hands and feet to defend releases without panicking and grabbing in man
  • Has become reliant on explosion out of breaks to compensate for excessive steps

Pro comp: Jason Verrett

Draft projection: 1st Round

In a class of top-end talented corners, Ward is a name to stash away. He continues the recent run of impressive Buckeye corners that have been early selections and offer a potentially lengthy NFL career. Although he isn’t a physical specimen and is underwhelming size intensifies battles with receivers with the build advantage, Ward is supremely athletic and technically savvy to a degree that unquestionably warrants a first round selection. He can operate on both sides of the field and in the slot, increasing his value when considering his skill set that can succeed from a number of different coverage schemes. Ward has what it takes to find success in the league for a number of years.




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