The NFL Draft begins on April 26 in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. Many tar college athletes are expected to be there including former Ohio State Buckeyes.
Players like Denzel Ward, Jayln Holmes and Sam Hubbard are all expected to be drafted within the three-day event in Dallas. None more highly touted than former Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
Ward is a fast and physical defensive corner who was the best defensive back for the Buckeyes in 2017. He attacks the ball fast and makes plays in the open field. Ward can also track down balls for deflections and interceptions well and is a physical tackler (at times maybe too physical as evidence by a couple targeting calls) who would be an asset to any NFL defensive unit.
Like other Ohio State defensive backs in recent years, Ward is expected to go high in the first round much like his former teammates Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker did a year ago in the 2017 NFL Draft.
But where would he go?
For the teams highest up on the board with a need at cornerback it seems like the first team who would take him that high would be the Cleveland Browns. They need help at just about every position, especially on defense and could certainly use the help from a Buckeye staying in-state and helping them secure their defensive unit with speed and physicality.
But the Browns have a lot of other needs to address and are likely to take a defensive edge rusher like Bradley Chubb out of North Carolina State at No. 4 if they select a quarterback (which most people assume they will) at No. 1.
So if not the Browns, the next suitable selection would be form the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos have a need at cornerback after having a lot of stability at the spot in recent history. With the departure of veteran Aqib Talib, the Broncos are looking to find the next best person to fill in the gap at cornerback and be a staple on the team for season to come. To put Ward in the mile high city at pick No. 5 would make a lot of sense for the Broncos.
The other possibility is just two spots down with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers hold the seven spot in the draft and are also looking to add help defensively within the defensive backfield. The team is looking for a cornerback as well as safety and defensive line help. Ward is the best defensive back in the class and if the Buccaneers hope to continue their upswing in the division, adding a young cornerback to set the tone with Vernon Hargreaves could be a step in the right direction.
My prediction: Buccaneers