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.
- 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.
- 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.