Most mock drafts this year have the Bengals looking cornerback with their 1st rounder of the 2014 draft. However one thing remains to be undetermined. Which Cornerback will the Bengals select with the 24th pick. Kiper had the Bengals taking Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard with the 24th pick. (http://espn.go.com/blog/cincinnati-bengals/post/_/id/5545/bengals-lamarcus-joyner-mel-kiper-todd-mcshay-nfl-draft-mock) So, basically, I decided to look at game film from the game's they've had in College and go over what I liked and didn't.Today, we'll look at Dennard. First comes the game against Michigan. Play 1: In the first quarter, Dennard lines up 8 or 9 yards off the reciever which is good, because the Spartans are playing zone, it's 3rd and 20, and Dennard is already lined up where his zone is, allowing him to read what the reciever and qb are going to do. As Dennard steps back a few feet, he sees that the reciever is passing in front of him and passes him off to the next zone. As the play progress' the qb for Michigan gets pushed through a hole in the pocket and tries to rush for efor more yards.
Here's where Dennard really show's a positive. He realizes that there's no one in his zone and starts to move up, and then once the qb rushes past the line of scrimmage, he steps up and lays a strong solid clean hit with his shoulder. Which drops the quarterback for a few inches.
Play 2: The Next play I found that I liked was a Third and 2. Michigan is creeping towards the goal line and Michigan State realizes this and calls a man play. Here Dennard moves up to a yard between him and the line of scrimmage and is in one-on-one with the reciever directly across from him. However, Michigan has called a run and moves the receiver in to seal off one of the linebackers.
Dennard reads this quickly and turns to find the hole and cover the run. But Michigan has called a read option, and a defensive lineman has already plugged the hole. Which means that the qb holds onto the ball and tries to use a cutback lane.
and as three defenders quickly move in on the qb, it looks as though they're going to easily get the sack. Dennard sits at the first down marker in the hole however, which is good dedication to his side. As the QB tries to get away from the D-Lineman, Dennard moves into the hole more and ends up getting in on the sack, as the quarterback eludes the defensive lineman.
This is a great example of not over-pursuing and staying true to your side of the field. Also, a good example of not hesitating and instead moving up to make a play. And if you look in the alternate view below, in not hesistating, Dennard ends up saving (theoretically) a touchdown, as all other defensive players were blocked.
Play 3: Now let's look at some coverage. In the next frame, you see Dennard line up in one-on-one with the reciever to his side which is going to head deep and get the throw. Dennard lines up close to the line and back pedals, then turns his hips to follow the reciever downfield.
Dennard stays step for step with the reciever and keeps a hand on his hip which is a textbook example of coverage. As the ball goes up, Dennard turns his hips like a reciever and turns his head towards it to keep from drawing a flag. Another textbook play, in the next shot it looks almost like Dennard would have a shot at picking the ball off, until you realize that the quarterback put the ball far enough in front of the reciever and Dennard nor the reciever really have a shot at the ball. This might be in part to the hand Dennard has on the reciever.
The next shows how Dennard got away with the tug, he uses the refs position to tug at the recievers jersey, by grabbing where the ref can't see.
Play 4: On the final real play of the game Dennard uses the situation and position to his advantage. It's 2nd and 15 and Michigan needs to find the end-zone to start a comeback. Dennard realizes this and lines up close in man and doesn't bite on anything under. Then once the ball is up, Dennard get's his 5-11 frame in between the receiver and paydirt. He uses almost a pick to keep the receiver from getting to where the ball is going.
In the next frame, once Dennard realizes the receiver has no play on the ball, he turns his hips and makes the catch to secure the win. Dennard uses his body to shield the receiver from the ball and takes it away.
Some negatives I did see in this game film was missed tackles. Dennard had some plays where he could drop the back or reciever for little to no gain and he missed the tackle.
Next Game: vs Ohio State
Play 1: In this play Dennard stays honest to where the goal-line is and realizes Ohio State wants a score. He is in a zone coverage and stays true to it, by allowing the receiver to run his hook, to cover his zone and protect the end zone.
This is something you want from your corner, in that he has a nose and a knack for getting to the ball and causing turnovers.
Play 2: In this play Dennard realizes it's 3rd and 10 and reads pass the whole way. He's in one-on-one coverage with the Receiver and turns and runs with him as he heads down field.
Down at the other end of the field, Dennard stays with the receiver and get's his inside hand up to knock the ball away as the receiver tries to make a play. The thing I liked most, is that Dennard put his arms right into the pocket where the receiver was going to make the play on the ball. This is a fundamental play that most cornerbacks are taught, but have a difficult time doing when it comes down to it.
Play 3: Here's one play where Dennard seems to mess up at the start. It's 3rd and 6 and Dennard appears to be playing a zone. He looks like he's gonna play the first down marker but plays a little off it giving a cushion for the receiver to sit in to catch the first down, as the receiver starts to turn right at the line.
Miller sees this and puts the ball right in the receivers hands in a beautifully thrown first down. However, Dennard makes up ground quickly and starts to lay what seems like a normal tackle on the receiver.
However, Dennard again gets a nose for the ball and uses his left hand on the tackle to knock the ball lose and force a punt on 4th down. This is an exceptional play that Dennard played almost perfectly and again, shows his knack for locking the ball loose.
In this game, I didn't really find many flaws, and Dennard played an exceptional game and seemed to improve on his tackling, even taking down Braxton Miller a few times.
Overall, Dennard is a great corner who, what he lacks in size, makes up for in his knack to knock the ball loose, and speed to keep up with the recievers he covers. He's no Patrick Peterson or Richard Sherman, but with a fair amount of NFL coaching, I think he could be comparable and a great opposite to Leon Hall, who will hopefully be back from injury in 2014.
Lemme know what you guys think, and if you want to see more looks at prospects. You can find all the videos and more of Dennard here: