It has been hard to miss Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward during the first three games of the season.
From intercepting a pair of passes on opening weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers, to causing and then recovering a fumble in last Thursday’s win against the New York Jets, Ward has seemingly been in the middle of every big play.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed outside of Cleveland, as the analytics site Pro Football Focus has Ward currently ranked as the league’s eighth-best cornerback and the sixth best when it comes to coverage grade:
Baker Mayfield isn't the only top-five pick impressing in Cleveland.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 23, 2018
A look at how Denzel Ward has been delivering so far for the Browns.https://t.co/YJHpwhiSip
(via @PFF_AustinGayle) pic.twitter.com/zfQOA3ZbVP
In assessing Ward’s game, the site writes that:
Now three games, 202 defensive snaps into his NFL career, Ward has earned an overall grade of 81.9, which currently ranks eighth among cornerbacks, and a coverage grade of 86.3, which is good for sixth. He has allowed receptions on 15-of-21 targets for 130 yards, two touchdowns, and six first downs while logging two interceptions across 117 coverage snaps. He ranks 31st in passer rating allowed (79.6) and 22nd in yards allowed per reception (8.7).
Not bad for a player that the Browns were criticized for selecting over North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, who was selected by the Denver Broncos one pick after the Browns took Ward, and only recorded his first full sack of the season this past Sunday.