04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Patriots' picks: Round 7/224 -- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, 5-10, 204, Nebraska...An arrest in April more than likely dropped Dennard's value in the draft. The Patriots are rolling the dice hoping his off-field trouble was just an isolated incident. - The Sports Xchange
Dennard is a tenacious, physical cornerback who has the ability to make it difficult to get a clean release off the line if he plays up.
If Dennard plays off he has the closing speed and toughness to make it difficult to catch or keep the ball. However, didn't look great playing off during Senior Bowl practice so teams that expect that of their cornerbacks probably took note.
He won the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award last season after getting four interceptions, six pass breakups, and 31 tackles, most of them loud. Dennard was the main reason opposing Big Ten quarterbacks were held to a conference-low 51 percent on completions. His career included 97 tackles, four for a loss.
Dennard led Wilcox County High (Rochelle, GA) to second place in the Class A State championships, stealing five passes as a cornerback, catching 39 passes for 780 yards, 14 touchdowns at wide receiver and returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. At the Scouting Combine, Dennard had an unofficial 40-yard time of 4.55 seconds and a 37-inch vertical jump.
Man Coverage: Physical player, tough to get off the line against and willing to mix it up downfield. Fluid hips and good short-area to stay with receivers after initial move. Solid if playing off the line, as well, quick feet allow him to catch up to receivers if failing to get a hand on them initially. Deep speed and recovery speed are average, adding that to below-average height could spell trouble against playmaking NFL receivers downfield. Gets too physical at times, gets flagged for grabbing and holding.
Zone Coverage: Could flourish in zone systems due to closing speed and secure tackling ability. Jumps underneath and slants routes quite well, baiting quarterbacks to throw in his direction. Regularly stands straight up in his backpedal, which causes trouble transitioning when receivers stop their routes short.
Ball Skills: Breaks up passes with hits and by getting his hand on the ball before it arrives at his man. Make acrobatic interceptions by high-pointing or extending for throws, has excellent vertical jump to compensate for lack of height. Runs well with the ball in his hands, capable of winding his way through traffic to the end zone. Inconsistent adjusting to low throws.
Run Support: Often out on an island and not forced to support the run in 2010, but there's no issue with his physicality or willingness to stick his nose into the play. Showed capacity to attack screens and runs to his side as a sophomore, both cutting down and wrapping up ballcarriers reliably. Larger receivers can keep him from getting to the ball, though the effort to beat the block is there.
Tackling: Compact, strong build, tenacity and good closing speed make him a solid tackler on the edge. Rarely misses the tackle to stop receivers they catches passes in front of him in zone or when playing off. Wraps low and holds on to prevent yards after the catch. Good speed and angle gets him credited with tackles while ensuring ballcarriers get to the sideline.
Intangibles: Feisty player who asks to take on bigger number one receivers and likes to talk on the field. Earned more playing time as a junior due to better preparation. Missed most of two games in 2010 with a concussion. Played through a shoulder injury in 2009. Missed the first three games of the 2011 season with a right hamstring pull.