Broncos DC Joe Woods 'nearly passed out' when Browns shockingly passed on Bradley Chubb
The Browns picked Denzel Ward instead of Chubb, which sent Denver into a frenzy
In a 2018 NFL Draft full of surprises, the Cleveland Browns walked away as the primary disrupters. They -- hardly a traditional prototypical NFL quarterback -- first overall. But the real shocker came when the Browns were on the board again three picks later, when
Just ask the Denver Broncos, who sat at No. 5 in the draft order and watched Chubb somehow fall into their lap.
On Thursday, Broncos defensive coordinator Joe Woods told reporters about his reaction to the Browns' selection of Ward. According to Woods (via NFL.com), he "nearly passed out" in the Broncos' war room. NFL Network's James Palmer also reported that Woods told him in the immediate aftermath, "James, please pinch me. This can't be real."
Well, it's real and it's spectacular for the Broncos, who can now pair Chubb with All-Universe pass rusher Von Miller. Entering draft season, Chubb was considered by many to be the best overall player in the entire draft class. It wasn't just the four quarterbacks and running back Saquon Barkley being mocked to the Browns with the first-overall pick. So was Chubb, who notched 10 sacks in both of this final two seasons at N.C. State.
So, when the Giants and Jets both drafted players not named Bradley Chubb with the second and third picks in the draft, almost all of us assumed that the best-case outcome had just unfolded for the Browns. Not only did they get the quarterback of their choosing with the first pick, they were now going to get the best overall player in the draft in Chubb.
Instead, the Browns took Ward. Peter King (formerly) of The MMQB:, via
"The reason is our need for a press cover cornerback. Denzel probably plays that position as well as anyone I've seen in college football in some time. We probably play the most press of any team in the league. There's another reason. I've got a video of 28 snaps of Myles Garrett pass-rushes last year where he gets within two steps or less of the quarterback when the ball comes out. Basically, we aren't covering long enough to let him get to the quarterback. Myles and others—especially [defensive end] Emmanuel Ogbah—will get more chances because of Denzel."
The Broncos certainly didn't mind. So far, the reviews of Chubb have been encouraging.
"He's great," Miller said earlier this week, per the Broncos' website. "He reminds me of myself. He texts me late at night. Texts me at 3 o'clock in the morning. I'm up. I'm all for it."
Chubb will be joining a defensive front that also includes Shane Ray, Shaquil Barrett, and Derek Wolfe -- in addition to Miller, of course. The Broncos might not have their quarterback of the future yet, though Case Keenum is a more than adequate bridge quarterback, but they should be able to attack opposing quarterbacks with their explosive defensive front. Last season, the Broncos' defense ranked 10th in DVOA a year after finishing in first, so there's room for them to improve. Chubb should allow them to do exactly that.
With that being said, for how fortunate the Broncos were to watch Chubb fall to them, their ability to rebound from a disappointing 5-11 season will largely depend on Keenum's ability to repeat his miraculous performance with Minnesota. The Broncos still have a giant question mark at quarterback and it's a question that Chubb or Miller can't help answer.
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