Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard (31) raises his had before a play during the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. Spartans beat the Wolverines 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard

Overview: Darqueze Dennard is a solid draft prospect that I’m sure the Bears will be looking into in the coming weeks, so I thought it would be a good idea to let you guys know what he’s all about.  Dennard had a spectacular senior season in which he regularly shut down the best opposing receiver.  He was named 1st team All-American and 1st team All-Big 10 in 2013.  He had a career high 4 interceptions and forced 2 fumbles.  He was also the recipient of the Jim Thorpe award, which is given to the nation’s best defensive back each season.

Strengths:

  • Physical in coverage.  Understands leverage and redirects receivers well.
  • Athletic enough to stick on the receiver’s hip and shadow him in man coverage.
  • Savvy Defender.  Knows how to keep his downfield contact subtle and not get called for it.
  • Willing tackler.  Not afraid to stick his nose in there and get dirty.

Weaknesses:

  • Plays the man and not the ball.  Struggles to get his head turned around and locate the football which will lead to both missed interceptions and pass interference penalties.
  • Needs to work on tackling technique.  Willingness is there, but doesn’t wrap up all the time which leads to missed tackles.
  • Inexperienced in zone coverage.  He might be great here, but he hasn’t been asked to do it much.
  • Lacks upside.  Relies on trickery a little too much, rather than natural ability, and might be maxed out.

NFL Player Comparison: Alterraun Verner, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  These two are very similar players.  More than solid, but mostly unspectacular.  Verner did make the Pro Bowl this year and I think Dennard could make a couple in his career as well, but I don’t think either will be a Hall of Famer.  I’m not calling either one a bad football player, I just think they’re both a little lacking in the “wow” factor.

The Way I See It: The floor is there, but the ceiling is not.  This pick would fill a need for the Bears, but they need more than that.  The Bears desperately need a game changer on the defensive side of the ball, and I’m not sure Dennard is that guy.  I’m hoping the Bears get a player with the 14th pick that offers more upside than he does.  I wouldn’t hate it if the Bears made this pick, but I would be more than a little disappointed.

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Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Chicago Bears Darqueze Dennard

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