Jets Gab 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

Cornerbacks are always in high demand come draft night, and this year the 2018 draft will be no exception. One player that likely won’t last long is that of Ohio State Buckeyes CB Denzel Ward, a player who is quickly climbing the charts.

Ward is coming off a tremendous combine, and is known by many as the top CB in this year’s draft class. Here’s our official look at Ward and what he’ll bring to the table to the lucky team that grabs him this year in round one.

Here’s a Scouting Report from


OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs told reporters last spring that Ward was a “gifted player” and truly a “third starter” at cornerback, joining 2017 first-round picks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley. Ward proved his coach correct, earning first-team All-American and all-conference accolades in 2017 with 37 tackles, two for loss, two interceptions, and 15 pass breakups (ranked in the top 10 in the nation). He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten notice from league media as a non-starter in 2016, playing 30 snaps a game on defense. Ward tied Lattimore for the team lead with nine pass breakups on the year (23 tackles), never giving up on a play and being quite physical despite his average size for the position. Ward got onto the field as a true freshman, making seven tackles, primarily on special teams. Ward was a first-team All-Ohio pick and Division II Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a high school senior (nine interceptions, 18 pass breakups). He also qualified for the state track meet as a long jumper and part of the 4×400 relay.


Strengths Supreme athletic ability. Expected to be impressive Combine tester. Can park in a deep squat under wide receiver’s chin at the line. Patient from press showing no panic or hurry in initial movements. Can pedal and mirror for a long time without opening hips. Tremendously gifted footwork. Mirrors and matches with good balance throughout the route. Matches changing route speed stride for stride. Plays from low side of route to take away comebacks. Uses big burst for recovery and closeouts. Carries true long speed down the field. Reads clues from off-man. Reads slants and drives in front of the route in search of an interception. Allowed just over 32 percent completions over last two years. Ballhawk with sudden hands to attack the throw. Bats throws down and will swirl arms around the catch point to prevent target from finishing the catch.


Frame is somewhat slight and he feels small in coverage at times. Lacks play strength to jam and disrupt. Appears to avoid route contact so he doesn’t upset coverage balance. Physical receivers can body him around at the top of the route. Needs to turn and find football sooner with back to the ball. Always around the throw, but lack of size and length shows up with “just misses” in pass defense. Several pass breakups came on throws with poor placement. Coverage benefitted from deep, talented rush unit up front. Has issues disengaging from big blocking receivers. Big backs drag him for a ride in run support.

Draft Projection Round 1

NFL Comparison Chris Harris Jr.

Chat Sports takes a look at Ward:

The cocky cornerback was a monster in the Big 10 this year, racking up 15 pass deflections and a pick while completely locking down one half of the field. He’s electric, smart, and will be bonafide #1 CB in the NFL. Despite his lack of size, he’s a very physical corner and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He should be one of the first 10 picks in the upcoming NFL draft, but the only question for Ward at this point is what team he’s going to dominate on.


-Absurdly quick
-Excellent ball skills
-Has the swagger you want in a CB
-Big hitter
-Good blitzer when needed
-Very smart player


-Will struggle against physical receivers
-Not the most willing tackler
-Too timid in the run game
-Get blocked out of plays too easy
-Bigger WRs eat him up

Player Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.

NFL Draft Grade: 1st Round (#2 CB)

Projected Round: 1st

The Drafster on Ward:

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


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


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.

Here’s the College Bio Page on Ward.

Some Quotes on Ward from


“Ward wasn’t high enough on my radar early in the year, but I went back and watched some tape from this season — and boy was I impressed. Spending last season behind Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley (all 2017 first-round picks), he didn’t get much playing time, but he has elite fluidity, quickness and recovery speed. He has closed the gap with Fitzpatrick and had 15 passes broken up (Fitzpatrick had eight).”


“Quick-twitch athlete with explosive movements in any direction. Owns track speed with immediate acceleration to close gaps – the ‘fastest guy’ at Ohio State during the Urban Meyer era, according to OSU strength and conditioning coach Mikey Marotti. Sudden, but composed with swivel hips and velvet feet to stay in phase with elusive receivers.

“Lacks ideal height and length for the outside, creating mismatch issues vs. bigger targets. Works hard in the weight room, but lacks ideal bulk and limb strength. Bad habit of grabbing cloth at the line of scrimmage or near the top of routes. Ward’s lack of inches shows at times in coverage and as a run defender, but he is a premier athlete with the budding instincts and required toughness to be trusted vs. NFL receivers on an island, either on the outside or in the slot. He is one of the top-three cornerbacks in this draft class.”

Jets to Chat with Free Agent Wide Out Terrelle Pryor

The Jets will bring in wide receiver Terrelle Pryor for a visit, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post confirmed.

Pryor was in Seattle on Monday meeting with the Seahawks.

The former Ohio State quarterback tried to play that position with the Raiders at the start of his NFL career but transitioned from throwing the football to catching it. He showed great promise in 2016, with 77 receptions for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in a breakout season for the Browns.

The Redskins bought in and brought Pryor in last season, but injuries limited him to only nine games, and he finished with 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown. He landed on injured reserve in late November and had ankle surgery, repairing an issue that nagged him most of the season.

Jets Make Move with the Colts to Move Up to Number Three in the Draft

The Jets on Saturday traded with the Colts to move up to No. 3 overall in the first round of next month’s draft, Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News reports.

The team announced on Twitter. It was a costly deal. In return, the Jets gave Indianapolis their No. 6 overall pick, both of their 2018 second round picks – 37th overall and 49th overall – as well as a 2019 second-round pick.

The No. 37 overall pick is the Jets’ original second-round pick. They acquired the additional second-round selection from the Seahawks in the Sheldon Richardson trade, which also brought wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to New York.

Jets Come to Terms with Kicker Cairo Santos

The Jets have signed kicker Cairo Santos to a one-year deal according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The 26-year-old Santos was the placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2014 through 2016 but was waived after suffering a groin injury in Week 3 of the 2017 season. After recovering, he was no longer needed in KC due to the success of rookie Harrison Butker and instead signed on as the kicker for the Chicago Bears late in the season.

The 26-year-old Santos is the apparent replacement for Chandler Catanzaro but may face some competition in training camp. He is a dependable kicker, with an 84.1 percent field goal completion average over four seasons, but does not have a particularly strong leg as he has successfully kicked just seven 50-yarders since entering the league.

Jets Inking Rams CB Trumaine Johnson to Deal Worth $15 Million Annually

After playing under the Rams’ franchise tag for the past two years, Trumaine Johnson has finally cashed in with long-term security, Chris Wesseling of reports. .

The Jets are set to sign Johnson to a deal worth approximately $15 million annually, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, via a source informed of the situation.

Johnson, 28, started 62 of 85 games in six years with the Rams. His former position coach, Brian Heimerdinger, is now vice president of player personnel with the Jets.

“This is a marriage that was always going to happen,” Rapoport explained on NFL Total Access. “It was just a matter of settling on the right number.”

Jets to Ink Former Titans ILB Avery Williamson

It’s been one of the busiest days for the Jets in recent history, and it’s not over yet. Rich Cimini reports the Jets are set to ink former Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Avery Williamson.

Williamson started 59 of the 62 games he played for the Titans, and had 377 tackles, 11.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The move as pointed out above will mean the end for Demario Davis as he will move on elsewhere.

Jets Backup QB Plan – Ink Vikings FA QB Teddy Bridgewater

After getting rebuffed by Kirk Cousins, the Jets are negotiating a deal with Teddy Bridgewater to join their quarterback room, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports.

Bridgewater is only 25, but is coming off a knee injury that cost him most of the past two seasons. He sat out the entire 2016 season after injuring his knee in August 2016. He threw two passes in Week 15 last year against the Bengals, one an interception.

The Jets may not just sign Bridgewater. There is some thought they could also bring back Josh McCown to pair up with Bridgewater and then possibly draft a quarterback next month as well. That would give them insurance if Bridgewater is not ready to play immediately and give the draft pick time to watch and develop before having to play.

Bridgewater was a first-round pick of the Vikings in 2014 out of Louisville. He made the Pro Bowl in 2015 before suffering the gruesome injury in 2016, when he tore the ACL in his left knee and dislocated the knee.

FA RB Isaiah Crowell Inking a Three-Year Deal with the Jets

The Jets are adding another offensive piece, as reports say the team is going to sign Cleveland Browns free agent running back Isaiah Crowell.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Crowell is going to sign a three-year deal.

In four seasons with the Browns Crowell ran for 3,118 yards and 21 touchdowns. His best season was 2016 when he rushed for 952 yards and eight scores.