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

  • Wisdom Speaks

    This is simply the best pick the Bears could make in the first round. I’m going to take it that you’re not a fan of a lockdown or shutdown corner, but that is what the Bears would getting if they drafted Darqueze Dennard. My personal grade on Dennard is that he is the second best defensive player on this draft outside of Kahlil Mack who I regard as the best player with Jadeveon Clowney coming in third. I see Aaron Donald as the most overhyped player second only to Clowney. Dennard will be an every down player while Donald will not do to his liability in the run game. I would definitely run in the direction of Donald if I was an NFL team to see how long he would hold. Since a lockdown or shutdown DB never comes of the field and DT’s rotate and take plays of, you get better value in this case with Dennard as oppose to Donald. And for the record, the Bears have never had a shutdown DB that I can remember, this would be a first, and it would be a necessity in today’s NFL which has become more of a passing league. Right now Dennard is more talented that any DB on the Bears roster including Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings and would start day one as the nickle and replace Tillman next year.