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Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard unlikely for OTAs, expects to be ready for training camp

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The Bengals' former first round cornerback suffered a bad shoulder injury in late November last season, and it appears that it will keep him out through at least the spring.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bengals drafted Darqueze Dennard in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the team and its fans knew they had an heir apparent to the position that had aging veterans at the top of the depth chart. Coming into his third season, Dennard has flashed with the Bengals, but his being buried on the positional depth chart and a myriad of injuries have slowed his ability to make a large impact.

In Week 11 last season, Dennard suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against the Arizona Cardinals. The ailment required surgery and he ended the season on Injured Reserve.

Dennard injury

It appears Dennard will be rehabbing the injury for a while, as his status is in doubt for spring workouts, OTAs and maybe even minicamp. Michael Rothstein of ESPN does give a little ray of hope with Dennard, saying the third-year corner "expects to be ready by training camp", even though the third-year player is leery about being ready for spring workouts. Marvin Lewis and the team usually play it cautious on this front, so it's a safe bet we won't be seeing Dennard until the summer.

In his first two seasons with Cincinnati, Dennard has mostly been a slot corner in defensive packages. While he did allow some big plays, like the one above, he showed some progress in 2015. He logged his first career interception against Buffalo, while filling in for an injured Leon Hall and made a number of nice special teams plays.

Dennard had some varying minor ailments as a rookie, making his first two years in with the Bengals painfully similar to that of Dre Kirkpatrick, and he expressed frustration regarding that back in 2014. Dennard will likely be the team's No. 3 cornerback again in 2016 because of Adam Jones re-signing with the team, but he should see an even bigger increase in snaps, if healthy. Leon Hall appears to be heading elsewhere, paving the way for more playing time for Dennard and other youngsters like Josh Shaw.