Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Arguably the draft’s top cornerback, Denzel Ward would address the Packers’ biggest need. It’s unlikely Ward will drop all the way to the 14th overall pick, no matter how many quarterbacks come off the board early on. But it’s more realistic he drops to the San Francisco 49ers at pick nine, as an example.
Gutekunst would have to seriously consider making an offer that would see the Packers move up four or five spots, likely parting with a third-round pick in the process. Considering how many picks the Packers would still have in the bag, it’d be a move worth making.
So, why Ward? Well, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com believes Ward is the fourth-best prospect in this year’s class, ranking first among corners. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared him to three-time Pro Bowler Chris Harris Jr.
The biggest knock on Ward is his size (5-foot-10, 191 pounds), but Jeremiah noted that “he plays much bigger than his height”.
The Packers desperately need more speed on defense, and Ward could provide that. His excellent 4.32 40-yard dash time was tied for first among all prospects at the scouting combine last month.
Ward has the potential to quickly become a major piece in Mike Pettine’s defense, which would help transform the pass defense. If he falls to the eighth pick or lower, the Packers should seriously consider making an offer.