When Denzel Ward was a cornerback at Ohio State, he didn’t have to go very far to find top-level competition.

All he had to do was walk on the practice field. At different points, he found himself vying for playing time against the likes of future NFL players Eli Apple (New York Giants), Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints), and Gareon Conley (Oakland Raiders).

‘We all help each other out on the field and off the field’

It did wonders to help Ward become what most draft analysts believe is the top-rated player at his position.

“It definitely motivated me and also elevated my game, I feel,” Ward told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Late Hits. “And being with those guys in practice and outside factors, we all help each other out on the field and off the field. It’s not like we’re going to go against each other, but we’re going to compete to all play on the field. And what was also good, being at Ohio State, if you’re good Coach (Urban) Meyer was going to play you.

‘If you’re good, you’re going to play’

“We had a pretty good rotation last year with me, Marshon and Gareon. And we also did this year. But if you’re good, you’re going to play. But we just help each other out and compete.”

Ward is remarkably fast, running a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. What’s the most polished part of his game?

‘I would say what I could improve on is still my ball skills’

“I would say definitely it’s my footwork at the line of scrimmage and kind of my ability to be able to mirror receivers and stay in that hip pocket throughout the entire route,” he said. “And I would say what I could improve on is still my ball skills as well and just leaning and locating and tracking the football and taking the ball away.”

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