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Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams have big plans as new Browns CB duo

BEREA, Ohio -- The last time the Cleveland Browns had a great tandem of cornerbacks, it was Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield who were patrolling the defensive backfield.

Denzel Ward says he believes he and Greedy Williams can one day reach that level.

"That's definitely something I envision with me and Greedy," Ward said. "Just being a tandem and being two guys who can lock down players on our side of the field."

When Cleveland traded up to No. 46 in April to take Williams, it marked the second year in a row the Browns used one of their first picks on a cornerback after selecting Ward No. 4 overall in 2018.

Both players come from defensive schemes in college -- Ward at Ohio State and Williams at LSU -- where they played mostly press man-to-man coverage and now they are asked to play more off coverage in the NFL.

"We just have a lot of variations of coverages," Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said. "[Williams] was mainly like a press corner so really [it's about] teaching him how to play off technique, which are some of the things Denzel had to go through last year."

With that experience, Ward can help guide Williams through the process during his rookie season.

"If I have a question about anything I don't understand, he will be the first guy I go to," Williams said.

It won't be an easy transition for Williams, as Ward admitted that it took him awhile to get comfortable in the system last season despite being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

"It was difficult coming in because obviously at Ohio State we played press man-to-man, and coming here and playing off coverage," Ward said. "It was kind of a little difficult transition, but I am getting more comfortable with it."

The first thing Williams has to adjust to is the speed of the NFL game. Though the speed of the SEC might be elite at the college level, it gets turned up a notch when a player enters the NFL.

"Game speed moves a lot faster and there are more elite players," Williams said. "My first two days it was rough, but I caught on to the game speed. [Ward] tells me just to be fast at everything I do out here. Mistakes are going to happen, but make the mistakes fast and get it corrected in the film room."

This isn't the first time Williams has reached out to Ward for advice. Before the NFL draft, Williams took to social media to enlist Ward's help as he prepared for the combine. Having forged that relationship already, Ward welcomed the addition of Williams.

"I was real excited about the pick of Greedy," Ward said. "Me and Greedy were actually talking before he got drafted. I had called him that night to tell him how it is funny how life works."