Darqueze Dennard   CB   Michigan St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Darqueze has the athletic talent and size you look for in a top cornerback coming out in the draft. He uses excellent techniques and is very smart. He reads wide receivers and very rarely gets caught (when playing single coverage) looking into the backfield before his opponent turns his head and looks for the ball. Darqueze has good strength and is a solid and aggressive tackler. He meets his blocks and is adept in the open field at shocking the blocker and then shedding that block to make a tackle. He is always looking for the ball and when he tackles, if he is the second man in, he is looking to strip the ball. Darqueze has those long arms that give him the ďdefense radiusĒ to trail behind a receiver on deep patterns and still disrupt the ability for his opponent to catch the ball when it is out in front of the receiver. If you need a cornerback in this draft at any point in the first round, I would think Darqueze would be high on your list to select.

CONCERNS
You can nitpick any player to death, if you want to in a draft. Darqueze might not be the fastest corner in this draft. He might be too high in his back pedal and not flip his hips on deep patterns quick enough. He might be a little slow off the line and can get beat deep. Maybe he should wrap up better when he tackles and maybe he should be smarter in zone coverage, but the truth is all of that is just that Ė nitpicking, and I donít believe in nitpicking yourself out of selecting a player. Darqueze has room to improve, but his football intelligence and techniques are outstanding.

BOTTOM LINE
I have a saying when it comes to the draft: draft the obvious. By that I mean, when you see a player on the field that plays his position as well as Darqueze does, you draft him. You donít go out of your way to look for a lot of little things that will distract you from seeing the obvious. You donít get cute and try to pick someone else that might provide shock value to the draft. Itís obvious that Darqueze has the talent, size, football intelligence, strength and techniques a cornerback needs to be successful and impact immediately at the cornerback position in the NFL. Darqueze is the type of player who could be selected in the top ten of this draft. He is also the type of player teams could nitpick until a playoff team is smart enough to select him in the latter part of the 1st round. That being said, whoever selects Darqueze at any point in this draft will be selecting a player who will be an impact cornerback at the next level. I believe itís obvious.

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2014