Originally Posted by Nanners
I sincerely doubt that PFF or any other analytics driven entity was arguing in favor of Ward over Chubb. Please feel free to link me any articles or data that proves otherwise.
Ask and ye shall receive. Again, these aren't my words. I'm just telling you what PFF said after the draft...
Steve Palazzolo, PFF Analyst:
"With the No. 4 pick, they go with Denzel Ward out of Ohio State, and this is one, Sam, where I think the debate or the expected pick here was Bradley Chubb, the defensive end out of NC State. And, when they went with Denzel Ward I thought it was a great pick.
"Ward was actually higher than Bradley Chubb on our big board. The reason being is, first off, corners are just a little bit more valuable than pass-rushers at the next level and there was some question marks about Chubb and his ability to maybe translate as an elite pass-rusher at the next level.
"I love this pick for Denzel Ward."
Sam Monson, PFF Analyst:
"... and even if he had been the sure-fire elite pass-rusher that everybody else thinks Bradley Chubb is, I think it still would've been the smart decision to take Denzel Ward at 4 because cornerback is more valuable than edge rusher.
"Logically, that makes sense. When you think about it, even if a pass-rusher doesn't get home and he's stoned by the offensive tackle, the cornerback can still fix that on the back end. When the ball arrives, he can break it up, he can intercept it. He can prevent that from becoming a big play.
"If the same thing happens on the back-end and if the cornerback screws up, there's nobody fixing that. It's a touchdown. It's game over.
"So, cornerback is the more valuable part when it comes to coverage than pass-rush is because there's no last line of defense. That is the guy that makes the difference between big plays and not.
"I think getting a shut-down corner is absolutely the smartest move they could make."
"Yeah, Ward is a fantastic player, great final season in PFF grading and I just love his combination of speed and quickness. You just don't see a lot of guys who run 4.3 who have the type of lateral agility and footwork that Ward brings to the table.
"I know there are some question marks about his height and he's a sub-6-foot corner. The NFL has been trending that way in this draft. They just drafted a whole bunch of sub-6-foot corners in the first round with Ward being the best out of that group.
"And, look, I just think he plays bigger than that height. He knows how to play through the ball. The speed and the quickness that he brings to the table make him the top pure man coverage corner in this draft.
"The bottom line is in the numbers. If you look at his coverage numbers in college they are absolutely incredible. Over the last two seasons he allowed 35% of passes sent his way to be caught. You think about college quarterbacks completing 65%, 70% of their passes.
"Throwing at Denzel Ward, that pretty much halves. That's incredible. He had seven games last season in which he did not allow a catch. Nothing. No catches. Shut down corner in seven games over the season. Those are incredible numbers, even if the job is going to get harder at the National Football League level, that still suggests he is going to be a lock-down guy and that makes that #4 selection so smart.
"The height does show up every now and again against bigger receivers, but it is not enough to knock him down. I love the pick at #4."
Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Recap | PFF
Here is Denzel Ward's complete PFF Scouting Report Profile