For the Browns’ defense to have success in 2020, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams will have to take the next step in their development as starting cornerbacks.
Cleveland Browns cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams had similar paths to the NFL. Ward was a highly touted defensive back from Ohio State who turned himself into a top five draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Williams, an All-American corner from LSU slipped a bit in the draft, but was still selected in the second round by the Browns in 2019.
Ward has shown flashes of excellence as a starting corner. As a rookie, Ward made it to the Pro Bowl in a season where he had 53 total tackles, three interceptions and 11 pass deflections. He followed it up with another solid year in 2019 with 44 tackles, two picks (one for a touchdown) and 11 pass deflections.
Williams on the other hand stumbled a bit out of the gate. Although he started every game he played in, he missed four games because of injury. Williams had 47 total tackles as a rookie along with two passes defended, but no picks. In 2020, both of the former college All-Americans will have to take their games to the next level.
The AFC North is loaded with talent at the receiver spots. Baltimore’s Hollywood Brown and Willie Snead are speed demons on the outside. Pittsburgh has a great,
young three-headed monster with JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Cincinnati is young, but Tyler Boyd leading the way with a healthy AJ Green is a terror for any secondary.
This means Williams and Ward will have to be even better in 2020. Ward only allowed a completion percentage of 48.2% and a passer rating of 62.2 in 2019. Williams allowed 61.3% of his targets to be completed and a rating of 84.9 Pretty solid for a second-year corner and a rookie, but expectations are through the roof as they are both a year older.
Ward and Williams will have their work cut out for themselves in 2020. With top-notch receiving corps in the division, Cleveland will have to rely on its young corners to pivot from just being starters to becoming stars at this point in their young careers. Be on the lookout for Ward and Williams becoming one of the best corner duos in 2020.