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Denzel Ward earns high marks from PFF for his Week 1 work

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward wasted little time in making an impact in his NFL debut on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ward, the fourth overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, had a pair of interceptions off Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and a trio of pass breakups during the 21-21 tie with the Steelers.

His efforts helped Ward earn some high praise from Pro Football Focus in their Week 1 rankings of the league’s first-round draft picks:

The analytics site wrote that:

Ward was a standout performer for the Browns defense on Sunday afternoon. During his team’s regular-season opener, Ward played a colossal 81 snaps, the most among all rookie defenders. 50 of those snaps came in coverage, where he excelled, allowing just six receptions from 10 targets for 50 yards while breaking up one pass and intercepting another two.

In addition, Ward is one of five nominees for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award, according to clevelandbrowns.com.

Not a bad start to his career!

A week after matching up against Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, Ward faces another challenge this Sunday against Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints, who posted 16 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.