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Darqueze Dennard runs with First-Team Defense; Effect on Adam Jones

Joe Robbins

The Bengals have made it clear they were thrilled to get Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard. Marvin Lewis went as far as to say Dennard was a Top-10 prospect in their eyes, and they'd even contemplated trading up to get him.

The coaches believe he can start as a rookie, and that's being reflected in OTAs, where Dennard is getting reps with the first-team defense:

It's interesting he's getting reps in the slot, as he played a lot of boundary corner in college. Adam Jones has played the slot, but he's better on the boundary. With Leon Hall being the primary slot corner but recovering from a torn Achilles, the ideal defense might be Dennard and Terence Newman on the boundary with Jones in the slot.

Perhaps, they'll instead go with Dre Kirkpatrick and Newman on the boundary with Dennard in the slot. This would presumably give the Bengals the ability to use Jones more on punt returns.

It's just OTAs, and there's an entire training camp and preseason still to come, but this might be a glimpse into how Dennard will be used as a rookie.

Assuming the Bengals are careful with Hall's return to the field, Dennard should be in line for a lot of playing time in the preseason.