Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State #31
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height and overall size. Timed speed was exceptional at combine, but it doesn’t translate to the field. Straight-line speed is decent, but he doesn’t have the quickness and fluid movements to match.
Coverage: Extremely physical and excels in press coverage. But his physical play may also be his biggest downfall. He puts his hands all over receivers, especially when he starts to lose ground and will consistently be called for penalties at the next level with his approach. Lacks the quick footwork to stay with more athletic receivers when he isn’t able to jam them at the line of scrimmage.
Ball skills: Great awareness. Does a nice job keeping an eye on the receiver and the quarterback when he’s in his backpedal and the play is still developing in front of him. Shows decent body control when going up to contest for the ball.
Run support: Easily the best cornerback in this class in terms of run support. He isn’t afraid to step up and help out and will take on bigger ball carriers. Capable of making strong wrap-up tackles. Can be late to diagnose the run at times, but has decent speed to recover.
Intangibles: A team leader who was respected by coaches and teammates. Clearly looked to as a leader on the sideline.
Durability: Played through a sports hernia in 2013 which required multiple surgeries. Slowed by a shoulder injury in 2012.
Comments: Dennard is a tough one to figure out. His willingness to play a physical style of football is an encouraging sign, but he takes it beyond what the NFL will allow. Based on NFL rules, his college performance would have resulted in double digit penalties per game. And when you take out his physical play, there are some questions about how his athleticism translates to the NFL. There will probably be some growing pains as he adjust to the NFL, but he’s a hard worker and he’s probably a guy worth betting on.