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Why Dorsey chose Ward over Chubb; Patriots nearly moved up for Mayfield

By MARY KAY CABOT • May 1, 2018 at 11:00 PM

CLEVELAND — Browns general manager John Dorsey, who's taken heat for drafting Denzel Ward over Bradley Chubb at No. 4, revealed Tuesday on the Ken Carman Show on 92.3 The Fan that he had the two players ranked equally on their board.

He said the Browns needed a press cover corner more than another edge rusher, and that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams preferred Ward, the former Ohio State cornerback and Macedonia, Ohio, native. The Broncos snatched up Chubb a pick later and will pair him with the great Von Miller.

To prove it, Dorsey put Peter King of The Monday Morning Quarterback on the phone with Williams on Friday when King was in the war room with Dorsey at the Browns facility.

Williams' answer on Chubb vs. Ward?

"Ward,'' said Williams. "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."

Williams said Ogbah, who missed the last five games of the 2017 season with a surgically-repaired broken foot, was a major reason the Browns opted for Ward.

"Ogbah's a rising star in this league," Williams told King. "He's got a chance to be Chubb."

Ward joins an overhauled secondary that features Damarious Randall at free safety and Jabrill Peppers at his more natural strong safety position.

"We've totally upgraded the secondary there with unrestricted free-agent acquisitions and trades,'' said Dorsey. "And then we attacked it also in the draft. I'm very pleased with Denzel Ward, great kid, loves the game of football, wonderful family.

"Now, he's got the physical features you look for in a shutdown corner. He's got the long vertical speed, he's got sudden-area explosive quickness that you like in those types of players, he's got great ball skills. And I see his ceiling of growth, I see it as really high. You know when you get players from Ohio State University, you know you're going to get guys that really like to play the game.''

Williams weighed in on the Ward pick moments after Dorsey made it.

"Gregg Williams, he kind of pulled me into his office and said, 'Come here. Look at this text here. I am getting all of these texts from the Ohio State football coaches. They say that this guy is a really great teammate,''' Dorsey said in his press conference Thursday. "That's pretty cool."

Did Patriots attempt a trade for Mayfield?

The Patriots wouldn't entertain the notion of trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns last year around the NFL draft, but the Browns may have gotten a modicum of revenge.

According to Baker Mayfield's agent Jack Mills, the Patriots — who later traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick and the chance to sign Brian Hoyer — were poised to possibly trade up with No. 2 to the Giants to draft Mayfield. Mills told Andrew Brandt on a podcast Tuesday.

But those plans were foiled when the Browns drafted Mayfield No. 1 overall.

"We knew that was the bottom line,'' Mills said. "We had another team — which is going to surprise you — another team had said, 'You may get a big surprise on draft day at No. 2 if he's available.' It was the Patriots. They had (No. 23), and they had (No. 31), and they had two seconds, and I don't know. We thought, 'boy, that's going to be a heck of a move to get up that high from where they are.' And of course, he wasn't available, so we never knew if that was a reality or not.''

The Patriots, who traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick in October and the chance to sign Brian Hoyer, tried several times to set up meetings with Mayfield, but the QB declined, knowing he'd be long gone by their No. 31 pick.

But after the Patriots added the No. 23 selection, they went back at Mayfield's camp to set up the meeting, according to Albert Breer and Robert Klemko of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

Finally, Mayfield, convinced that the Patriots were serious about trading up, agreed to a one-on-one meeting with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels three days before the draft, as first reported by NFL Network.

By then, of course, the Browns were already set on drafting the Heisman Trophy winner, with both Dorsey and Jackson realizing after his private workout on March 22 at Oklahoma that he was their man.

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