Denzel Ward, Ohio State: 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Denzel Ward /

Ohio State’s Denzel Ward is an athletic and quick cornerback prospect who has the ability to keep tight coverage.

Denzel Ward features a thin frame with long arms. His lack of bulk is a concern as it will allow the more physical receiver to out muscle him for the ball. This lack of weight also negatively impacts Ward’s ability to support the run.

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Ward just doesn’t have the build to play a physical style of football. However, his length is something that Ward uses as a positive.

He does a good job getting his hands up in coverage and generating pass breakups. In coverage, Ward uses his change of direction ability to keep in-phase with his target. His combination of balance and quickness makes it tough for receivers to create separation.

Ward also has the overall speed to turn and run with even the quicker receivers. He has the skill set to fit as either a zone or man coverage corner.

However, his ability to hold up in man coverage is hindered by his struggles getting his head turned around. Ward has a bad habit of keeping his head on the receiver rather than turning and locating the football.

This is something that limits his ability to make a play on the ball and makes him susceptible to pass interference calls. At the next level, NFL quarterbacks take advantage of this situation by throwing back shoulder passes.

Ward has the raw skills and movement ability to be a strong coverage corner in the NFL. He is someone who would work well in the slot. However, it will be difficult for him to crack the rotation if he doesn’t improve his tackling.

The coaches at the next level will also want to see him start locating the football on throws down the sideline.