The Bleacher Report list included Jaire Alexander and Kevin King in Green Bay, Xavien Howard and Byron Jones in Miami, Pittsburgh duo Joe Haden and Steven Nelson, Casey Hayward and Charis Harris Jr. in Denver, Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins out of New Orleans, Stephon Gilmore and Jason McCourty of the Patriots, and Ravens cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters topping the list.
“I see we need to earn our respect out here in Cleveland,” Ward wrote. “Say less.”
Greedy Williams chimed in on Ward’s comment saying: “Let’s turn up.”
After making the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Ward — the No. 4 overall pick in 2018 — missed four games with injuries. He still performed well, notching 44 tackles, 11 passes defended and a pair of interceptions. Ward returned one of his picks for a touchdown, which was the Browns first interception touchdown since 2017 when Jason McCourty did it. It was a 38 game drought without a pick-six for Cleveland.
Williams was projected to be a first-round pick at one point during his college career with LSU, but fell to the second round, where the Browns were more than happy to scoop him up. Williams also dealt with some injuries during his rookie year, but was productive while on the field. He collected 47 tackles, two tackles for loss and two passes defended.
Browns Bulk up Defensive Back Depth in Offseason
Delpit notched 60-plus tackles in three consecutive years with LSU, collecting eight interceptions and seven tacks over his Tigers career. He also defended 24 passes. Delpit is a two-time All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2019. He was a sure-fire first-rounder before a injury-riddled season slowed him down. However, Delpit is very confident in his new secondary, which includes his former teammate, Williams.
“The best,” Delpit said of the Browns secondary, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “Headline, all caps.”
Delpit has been firm that the injuries he suffered during his last season at LSU affected his tackling and he doesn’t expect it to carry over to his pro career.
“I’m so tired of hearing I can’t tackle.” Delpit told reporters, per Daryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan. “It was tough. Sunday mornings I could barely walk but wanted to be there for my team. I wasn’t going to let a sprained ankle keep me off the field while trying to win a national championship.”
Browns Could Shift to Dime Defense Under Joe Woods
The Browns will open training camp with a 4-3 look, but defensive coordinator Joe Woods has expressed an interest in moving to a base dime defense, which would feature six defensive backs and just one linebacker. It would be appropriate for the Browns, who have players like Delpit and Joseph who don’t mind getting in the box and making tackles.
“I would like to transition into a dime system, but it is going to be something that is going to take time to get into, just because of getting their reps,” Woods said during a press conference. “Eventually, I would like to have a nickel package, where we have two linebackers on the field, but also, just to create better matchups and be a little bit more diverse in our scheme, I would like to get to a dime package, where we are putting an extra safety on the field.”