Thanks to his eye-opening NFL debut in picking off Ben Roethlisberger in the Browns 21-21 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, you haven’t heard much complaining since, huh?
Ward, selected fourth overall out of Ohio State, was taken one spot before the current Denver Broncos rookie defensive end out of North Carolina State. Many draftniks had Chubb going as high as No.2 to the New York Giants or no further than No.4 to Cleveland.
Many in The Land wanted to see a PTSD-inducing, QB-soul crushing duo of Myles Garrett and Chubb so badly that many talked themselves–and Chubb at No.4–into existence.
Thankfully, Browns general manager John Dorsey had other ideas. Considering whom the Browns face twice a year in the likes of Antonio Brown, A.J. Green and now Michael Crabtree from Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore, the Browns suspect secondary needed to be addressed five minutes ago yesterday.
Suspect is too kind. One didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery of how bad Cleveland’s secondary was.
And wisely enough, Dorsey pulled the trigger in getting perhaps the best DB in the whole Draft who played ball two hours down I-71 in Columbus.
Surprisingly, many Browns fans were upset at the Ward selection. For years, the Browns seemed to have an aversion of selecting players from THE Ohio State University as past front offices treated Buckeyes with the contempt of one having a Zika Virus like infection.
I could write a blog on all of the former Buckeyes that the Browns passed on whom the Steelers, Bengals, Patriots and seemingly the WHOLE league had no problem in snatching up.
Only in Cleveland.
If you’re a Browns fan, how much did it hurt to see your once fave Buckeye such as Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, Mike Vrabel, Ryan Shazier and Cam Hayward don the dreaded and much hated Black and Gold for that football team from the Steel City?
Or what about A.J. Hawk for the Bengals?
You get my point.
For the first time in recent memory, Cleveland selects a player in Ward from a scarlet and gray donning, 900-win, eight-time national champion NFL DB-producing factory and Browns fan freak out like someone crapped in their morning cereal.
Being a lifelong Browns fan and eternal card-carrying member of the Dawg Pound, I can attest to this upon pain of death, Browns fans LOVE Ohio State and they LOVE their hometown kids.
And Ward–who helped in leading Nordonia High to the 2014 Division II state championship game–is both. Which is why I was so puzzled and flabbergasted to the collective reaction on Draft Night at Parma Tavern when many in attendance were shocked and angry.
Fast forward to Sunday’s game and after all the belly-aching and moaning, and he made perhaps one of the most breath-taking interceptions for his first INT on a pass intended for the forementioned Brown.
And suddenly all the Chubbers are MIA…🤔🤔🤔
His second interception was just another example of why Ohio State needs to seriously rename themselves “D.B. University” in showing a natural sense of being around the ball in snatching it for his second pick.
Going back to the days of Dick LeBeau and Jack “The Assassin” Tatum, Ohio State has produced ballers at DB such as Shawn Springs, Mike Doss, Ahmad Plummer, Will Allen and Super Bowl LII champion Malcolm Jenkins. Most recently, 2017 first rounders such as Massilion High’s Gareth Conley, Glenville’s Marcus Lattimore and Malik Hooker, whom he backed up and Ward looks to be the latest Silver Bullet to continue the Buckeyes first-round, ball-hawking tradition at DB.
Thanks to being named Rookie Of The Week for Week 1 due to his heroics in which has had six tackles and three passes defensed, Ward is on his way to making those Chubb-wanting fanboys quickly forget why they wanted him in the first place.