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2015 NFL DRAFT

Darqueze Dennard, CB

School: Michigan State  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Dry Branch, GA
Height/Weight: 5-11 / 199 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
1611

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.412.501.5715 ----
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
---- -11'02"4.417.07

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

  • Pittsburgh Steelers | #15
    The once-proud Pittsburgh defense has fallen off in recent years and reinforcements are needed at all three levels. Given his polish, aggression and schematic fit, Dennard would make a lot of sense.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers | #15
    The current cornerback talent in Pittsburgh isn't going to scare any opposing offense and in a division with Josh Gordon and A.J. Green, a physical, aggressive cornerback like Dennard could change that.
  • New Orleans Saints | #27
    Champ Bailey isn't a kid, so why not draft one at a position of need?
  • Pittsburgh Steelers | #15
    Michigan State plays a very similar scheme to the Steelers, and this guy is very aggressive and a quality person. He starts from opening day.
 

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Well-built for the position with broad shoulders, long arms and good overall musculature. Confident, physical defender on the perimeter at his best providing man to man coverage and when attacking in run support. Doesn't extend an arm in press coverage, instead quickly turning to run with receivers, demonstrating the fluid hips and acceleration. Leans into receivers and uses the sideline to help narrow the space in which quarterbacks can attack. Good patience and body control to adjust when the ball is thrown. Doesn't panic, instead reaching to rip the ball away as the receiver attempts to catch it. Good ball skills. Locates the football and shows the hand-eye coordination to pluck it outside of his frame. Very good awareness and competitive spirit against the run. Fights through blocks and will take out the knees of oncoming blockers if necessary to leave teammates in position to make the splashy play. Physical and reliable open-field tackler who wraps his arms to secure the stop.

WEAKNESSES: Is a good, not great athlete. Wasn't challenged by many top-flight offenses this season and played behind a very physical front which limited how often quarterbacks could attack him deep. Some question about his straight-line speed, though he plays fast due to his fluidity. Extends his arms slightly as he runs with receivers, which could draw holding penalties.

COMPARES TO: Keenan Lewis, New Orleans Saints - The expectations of rookie cornerbacks are often unrealistic. Dennard isn't the second coming of Deion Sanders, boasting the elite agility and speed to singlehandedly shut down half of the field. He's a steady, competitive defender who will provide gritty, physical play on the perimeter, projecting as a quality starter for years to come.

--Rob Rang

Player Overview

As the first consensus All-American and Thorpe Award winner in school history, Dennard personified Michigan State's rise as Rose Bowl champions over the 2013-14 season.

The three-year starter enjoyed his finest season, allowing just three receptions (on 31 attempts) of 15 yards or more to be completed on him all year long, while recording 14 pass broken up, including four interceptions. These numbers are similar to the production he enjoyed in 2012 (10 PBUs, three interceptions), speaking to the consistency with which he's become so highly regarded by NFL scouts.

Perhaps most impressive is that Dennard's competitiveness extends to the running game. In an era of cover corners, Dennard plays with reckless abandon, taking on would-be blockers and filling in admirably in run support.

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Player News
05/12/2014 - A closer look at the Bengals' picks: Round 1/24 -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, 5-11, 199, Michigan State...The Bengals needed to get younger at corner and felt lucky Dennard slipped into their laps at 24. Most had him projected five to 10 picks earlier, but he fits perfectly into a man-press scheme. - The Sports Xchange
 

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