The Cleveland Browns may not have the record they want as the team nears the midway point of the 2018 regular season, but their rookie first-round draft picks continue to shine.
Pro Football Focus came out with their weekly rookie grades following Week 7’s games and the news is good for quarterback Baker Mayfield and cornerback Denzel Ward.
Denzel Ward continues to impress at cornerback for the Browns, but where does he rank currently in our Race for Rookie of the Year?— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 25, 2018
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Mayfield is not only dominating the other rookie quarterbacks, but he is holding his own against his more-seasoned peers, according to PFF:
His box-score numbers may not show it, but Baker Mayfield is not only outplaying his classmates, but he’s also outperforming the majority of starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Through seven weeks, Mayfield’s grade of 83.7 is over 25 points higher than the next closest rookie and good for ninth among the league’s signal-callers. The former Oklahoma quarterback continued his stellar work from a clean pocket this week against the Bucs, completing 20-of-31 attempts for 180 yards and two touchdowns and now has accumulated 14 big-time throws from a clean pocket, two more than any other signal caller this year.
Mayfield’s performance last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when he passed for a pair of touchdowns in an overtime loss, landed him his second Rookie of the Week honor from the NFL this season.
It is a similar story for Ward, who has become a problem for opposing quarterbacks, according to PFF:
In Week 7 against the Buccaneers, Denzel Ward once again showed why he was worthy of the No. 4 overall pick in this past offseason’s draft. Ward was beaten down the field early in the game by DeSean Jackson on a pass that fell incomplete due to an overthrow, but that was one of his few blemishes of the day. Ward went on to play solid coverage and allowed just four receptions from eight targets for 36 yards, while he also added two pass breakups. Through seven weeks, Ward has allowed a passer rating of only 63.4 on throws into his coverage, which is the ninth-best mark among cornerbacks this year.
Like Mayfield, Ward has also pocketed a pair of Rookie of the Week honors this season.
It has been an impressive start for the two rookies and hopefully they can continue to improve throughout the second half of the season.