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2018 NFL Draft Profile: Cornerback Denzel Ward

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Denzel Ward #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates an interception against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Denzel Ward #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates an interception against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first half during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Here’s the 2018 NFL Draft profile of cornerback Denzel Ward out of Ohio State breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and a draft day prediction.

Denzel Ward is the latest product of a string of talented defensive backs to come out of Ohio State University. A fantastic coverage corner with exceptional speed, Ward will likely provide a lot to the team that selects him in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Standing 5-10 and weighing in at 191 lbs., Ward was a first-team All American in 2017 in addition to earning all-conference accolades, making him one of the most highly regarded defensive backs entering this year’s draft.

Like any player, Ward does indeed have areas where he can improve upon, but it’s expected that he’ll be a hot commodity come draft day. Let’s take a look at his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights and where he’ll end up being selected.

STRENGTHS

Ward’s best attributes are likely his pure athleticism and explosive speed in addition to his high-level footwork, which he uses to mirror and match his opponents. Known for his terrific coverage, Ward is patient off the line, but he also has great ability to adapt to a receiver’s route, while remaining in tight coverage.

Throughout the 2017 season, Ward totaled 37 tackles with two of them resulting in a loss of yardage, two interceptions, and 15 pass breakups.

When his receiver is targeted, the Ohio native has a great knack for attacking the ball, as he only allowed just over 32 percent completions throughout the last two years. Ward has a great ability to read routes, especially slants, as well. His exceptional speed also often allows him to keep up with his receivers.

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WEAKNESSES

While Ward possesses many traits that will allow him to succeed at the next level, he does also have some weaknesses with his size being the one that draws the most concern.

His frame is a bit small and he can, at times, be overpowered by more physical receivers. This lack of size has also hindered him when dealing with blocking receivers and receivers that attempt to push him towards the outside when the ball is being run. And while he’s proven to have the talent to succeed on the outside, it’s unclear how well he would do on the inside at this moment.

Aside from his size, Ward doesn’t have many flaws, although some have criticized him for keeping his back to the ball for too long when his receivers are targeted.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

DRAFT DAY PREDICTION

While he may need to put some size on and increase his strength, Ward has the pure athleticism, speed, footwork, and coverage ability to succeed in the NFL. Ward will likely be one of the first few defensive backs taken in the first round of this year’s draft.

Ward will likely be ready to start and make an immediate impact upon his entrance in the league, and he should provide any team with a spark at the cornerback position. Especially when competing against teams who favor the passing attack.

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