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The Browns Might Get Shut Out of ROY Awards; But the Future Remains Bright Anyway

The 2018 Browns will go down as a team that has not only excited fans, but also is littered with young players that soon could be the faces of the NFL.

A few days back it came out that rookie QB Baker Mayfield was closing on New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley for the top rookie award in the league, as he’s closed the gap with every win.

Another Browns player though should not be overlooked for the award of the best rookie in the league, and it’s one that the Browns also took in the first round.

Despite missing the last two games due to concussion, Browns rookie CB Denzel Ward was just named to the Pro Bowl. As these ROY odds for 2018 show, he fell out of the Defensive Rookie of the Year race in late November, but he’s one of just two rookies to make the Pro Bowl on defense, along with LAC’s Derwin James.

His likely return in Week 16 has helped push the Browns’ odds up to -9 against the Bengals. Cincinnati, already down starting QB Andy Dalton and star receiver AJ Green, is also dealing with injuries to breakout WR Tyler Boyd and speedster John Ross. With Ward back in the Cleveland secondary, the Browns will be able to stack the box against Joe Mixon, limiting the only real weapon the team has left.

Ward has played so well that many have forgotten that he’s a rookie. He’s been steady from day one, picking off three passes total and putting up 48 solo tackles.

The team is very much in good hands with both Baker and Ward, and the two might go down as two of the best draft picks the team has ever made (okay it’s still early but at least we can be excited about it).

Even if Barkely hangs on as the NFL Rookie of the Year, the Giants are a team that’s a mess, a team that is going nowhere fast, and doens’t have the long term firepower of the Browns.

The Rookie of the Year award for either Mayfield or Ward would be the icing on the cake to what’s been an amazing turnaround year for the Browns and their fans.

No longer are teams laughing at Cleveland, and many think that after this season and the turnaround the team has gone through, these two top rookies are going to lead the Browns to the promised land of the postseason and who knows after that.

Awards are just awards, but for the Browns they finally have the foundation to be a winner sooner rather than later.

Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.

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