Most mock drafts out there had the Cincinnati Bengals taking a conerback. After one crazy night and a few surprising moves, they got the guy it seemed they wanted in Darqueze Dennard. The best part, they didn’t have to move to get him.
As a fan of the Big Ten, Ohio State to be more specific, I have watched Dennard from a competition stand point and was always impressed by his work ethic. I never saw him give up on a play and he made every receiver work for each reception.
He is a great fit to be a starting corner in place of an aging Terrance Newman, who is coming off a knee injury, and injury prone Leon Hall, who is coming off his second achilles injury. His speed and ability to stick to receiver should complement Adam Jones perfectly in the short term and give the Bengals another defensive back to defend against the deep ball for the long term.
Dennard’s role at Michigan State should carry over to the Cincinnati Bengals, which will make him comfortable almost immediately in a similar man to man coverage style he is used to. He won the Jim Thorpe Award for most outstanding defensive back in 2013 and was a 2 time First Team All-Big Ten member in 2012 and 2013.
He will play a key role against pass first offenses like the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, both of which are on the schedule this year. The Bengals not only get a steal at 24 with someone who was projected to go low to mid-teens in the first round, but ultimately get a strong future investment in their defense. It was a great first round pick for the Bengals, and a great future for Dennard in stripes.