With Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals get best value of NFL draft’s first round
The first cornerback taken in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL draft was by the Cleveland Browns, who selected Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert with the eighth pick. Cornerback Kyle Fuller from Virgina Tech was then selected 14th by Chicago. But the Cincinnati Bengals pulled off the steal of the first round, taking Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State with the 24th pick.
NFL draft: Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard goes 24th overall to Cincinnati Bengals | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Darqueze Dennard has a new home and a fulfilled dream, and Michigan State has an NFL first-round pick for the first time in 11 years. Dennard went in the first round tonight to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 24th overall pick — later than many projected, but early enough to make history. He is MSU’s highest NFL pick, and first to go in the first round, since Charles Rogers went No. 2 overall to the Detroit Lions in 2003. And he is the first MSU defensive back to go in the first round since the Green Bay Packers took Herb Adderley — a Pro Football Hall of Famer — in 1961.
Cincinnati Bengals select Darqueze Dennard No. 24 overall in the 2014 NFL draft | Audibles - SI.com
With Terence Newman and Adam Jones on the wrong sides of 30 and Leon Hall racking up Achilles surgeries at an alarming rate, the Cincinnati Bengals needed to get proactive about the cornerback position. And they did Thursday, selecting Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, the 5-11, 199-pound star who became the first Thorpe Award winner in school history. He’ll give the Bengals an aggressive presence in the secondary, as his occasional technical flaws are dealt with.
Jeremy Hill drafted 55th by Cincinnati Bengals - NFL.com
Hill was the Tigers' leading rusher in each of the past two seasons, averaging 6.25 yards per carry. He fumbled just once in 371 touches. A downhill runner who can bust through contact, Hill completes an intriguing thunder and lightning combination with second-year back Giovani Bernard.
Bengals pick Jeremy Hill in 2nd - Cincinnati Bengals Blog - ESPN
The Bengals were sitting comfortably when the 55th overall pick went on the clock Friday night. There were a slew of highly talented players whom they could have taken with their various needs. Good running backs were available, offensive linemen were available, defensive ends were available, safeties were available and linebackers were, too. So they could have gone virtually anywhere. With the Bengals moving to a more physical offense under newly promoted offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, the Bengals were smart to take a running back in the second round. In Hill, they get a big, bruising ball-carrier who can push the pile as well as make defenders miss. He is also a solid receiving threat out of the backfield, too.
Cincinnati chose Hill in the second round on Friday night, showing their commitment to running the ball under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. He fit the power profile they wanted for a runner. They weren’t very concerned about his problems at LSU.
Instead of making a pick to put some heat on Andy Dalton, they made one to keep the heat away. Drafting LSU running back Jeremy Hill gives Dalton another toy with which to play.
After going offense with their second-round pick, the Bengals returned to the defensive side of the ball in Round 3. They landed Clarke, a tall, rangy lineman who mirrors former Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson. Clarke is 6-foot-6, weighs 271 pounds and could grow even bigger, the Bengals believe. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said in a post-pick news conference that Clarke has a body frame that can get him up to 290 pounds. He'll be paired in the coming seasons with Margus Hunt, a 2013 second-round selection. Like Clarke, Hunt was the third player the Bengals selected in his draft class. Clarke also joins ends Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry and Carlos Dunlap at the position.
At the heart of both Hill's and Clarke's selections were relationships that Bengals assistant coaches had with coaches at the players' schools, as well as relationships with other people that extended off the field. That was specifically the case for Clarke, whose parents knew Bengals defensive ends coach Jay Hayes before the newly drafted end was even born.