Joey Bosa won it in 2016.
Marshon Lattimore in 2017.
Could Cleveland’s Denzel Ward be the next Rookie of the Year out of Ohio State? The New Orleans Saints’ Lattimore certainly wants him to be.
“I told him, ‘You got to be the next one’,” Lattimore said. “Before me, it was Joey (a defensive end with the Los Angeles Chargers) who won the Defensive Rookie of the Year, then me… I told him he’s got to follow up.”
The Browns rookie certainly looks capable and is off to a good start. He intercepted two passes in Cleveland’s season opener, a 21-21 tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He’s a great player,” Lattimore said. “I’ve been telling everybody that and they saw it last Sunday.”
The Saints play host to Ward and the Browns Sunday at noon and will try to keep the ball out of the hands of rookie corner who’s already flashing his potential.
“One thing we know is that Drew (Brees) doesn’t give the ball away that way,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I think what’s going to be important is that he’s got to keep these receivers in front of him and if he gets an opportunity to make a play on the ball he’s got to do that.
“Obviously he had a really good first game, but it’s week to week in this business. What happened last week is over with, it’s going to be about what he does this week.”
Saints receiver Michael Thomas, who is coming off of a career-high 16 grabs, said he is looking forward to matching up against his fellow Ohio State alum.
The Ohio State connection is part of the reason Lattimore is so close with his former teammate.
“That’s my son,” Lattimore joked. “At Ohio State, I had him under my wing.”
Ward is off to a similar start to his rookie season that Lattimore had and the too both had high expectations heading into their first years as well.
Jackson said he noticed a few other similarities as well.
“Well I’d say a lot of the similarities, absolutely, come from a good college program and coach, tremendous athleticism, fast, likes to play football, gets very disappointed when the other teams’ receiver catches balls on him and very good at what they do,” Jackson said.
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