- Denzel Ward’s debut performance included two interceptions, six tackles, and Rookie of the Week honors
- Ward’s odds of winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award now sit at +500
- Can Ward continue his impactful play in Week 2 and beyond?
After being the first defensive player off the board, ahead of Bradley Chubb, in the 2018 NFL Draft, there were lofty expectations placed on fourth-overall pick Denzel Ward.
But the rookie wasted no time in showing the Cleveland Browns what they are getting, as the corner picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice in their Week 1 tie with the Steelers, adding in six combined tackles, as well.
The strong performance dramatically closed the gap between Ward and the current favorite, Chubb, to win 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Average Odds
The Ohio State product entered the 2018 NFL season with the fifth-shortest odds to win the award. But now sits just behind Chubb with average odds of +500, leaping Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds Top Contenders
|Player||Team||Pos||Drafted||Odds at Bovada|
|Bradley Chubb||DEN||EDGE||5th Overall||+300|
|Denzel Ward||CLE||CB||4th Overall||+500|
|Roquan Smith||CHI||LB||8th Overall||+600|
Is Ward the Best Bet to Win Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors?
Denzel Ward offers great value, especially over the current contenders.
It’s worth noting that Marcus Peters and Marshon Lattimore won two of the past three DROY awards, and both were plug-and-play cornerbacks. Denzel Ward fits that mold, and has already made a major impact, both on the field and on the stat sheet.
His second interception showed his incredible football IQ and athletic ability to leave his assignment and find the ball after it was tipped.
What will put Denzel Ward over the top and lead to plenty of game changing opportunities is Ward’s teammate, Myles Garrett. The former 1st-overall pick enters the 2018 season fully healthy and with the ability to disrupt offensives.
As seen by his six tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks, and two forced fumbles against the Steelers, Garrett has the makeup to cause havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Ward is the best bet to win DROY.
He will reap endless benefits from Garrett’s pass rush, and have plenty of opportunities for interceptions and game-changing plays. In fact, Ward has already acknowledged that Garrett “makes my job easier.”