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Mailbag: Should we look forward to a Darqueze Dennard v Dre Kirkpatrick battle

Someone asked a question on Twitter, which restricts us to only 140 characters (and even less when you include the question). And I tend to ramble. So here, we take a look at that question and a training camp storyline that could be brutal.

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Veteran cornerback Terence Newman spent the last three seasons in Cincinnati (2012-2014), starting 41 out of a possible 48 games during that stretch. Cincinnati allowed Newman to leave for free agency, where he found a home under head coach Mike Zimmer in Minnesota.

That contribution is gone and the depth chart ladder moves up for everyone below Leon Hall.

In this cornerback, you have the Dre of Destruction, the Kirk of Hammer Time, Dre Kirkpatrick, who believes that his time has come. Head coach Marvin Lewis expressed enthusiasm when the team announced they're exercising Kirkpatrick's fifth-year option.

"For Dre, things didn't quite bounce his way early on, with injuries and gaining full confidence, but he continued to fight his tail off and we saw the good results this past year," said head coach Marvin Lewis in a press release announcing the fifth-year extension. "We’re very excited about his future and how he’s attacked the off-season again."

His past and current situation has been documented. His future is uncertain, though relatively bright.

And in this cornerback, you have Darqueze "Death of Quarterbacks," "The shark in the sea of orange" Dennard. Kirkpatrick might be looking forward for his opportunity, but Dennard won't make it easy. Like Kirkpatrick, he expects to start and "smells blood in the water." Nice words.

Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said during the NFL Scouting Combine that Dennard expects to start:

"He's going to compete this year," Guenther said at the combine. "I probably should have gotten him on the field more. But it's tough when you have Leon [Hall], you have Pac [Adam Jones], you have Terence [Newman]. But sometimes you've got to be around those guys for you to learn really what it's like to do it. I'm really high on Darqueze. He's going to compete this year."

The popcorn is popped and the competition will be brutal.

What are the scenarios:

The Safe Bet: The Bengals have an obsessive (and liable) need regarding playing veterans, to the point that it risks the development of their younger players. This philosophy has eased significantly over the years but would it be surprising if the Bengals depth looks like this?

  1. Leon Hall (starter)
  2. Adam Jones (starter)
  3. Dre v Dennard (third CB/Nickel)
  4. Dre v Dennard (loser)

Let's not rain tears for the third-string cornerback in this situation. The Bengals play far more snaps with a third cornerback, as opposed to a third linebacker. However, we've reached a point where neither Kirkpatrick nor Dennard should be the fourth-string cornerback.

Another possibility: I'm not a fan of this scenario (you're still stifling Dennard's playing time and thus development).

  1. Leon Hall
  2. Dre Kirkpatrick
  3. Adam Jones
  4. Darqueze Dennard

The Preferential: This scenario addresses it all -- NOTE: Kirkpatrick and Dennard are interchangeable in this. You have youth starting at cornerback, Hall working the slot and Adam Jones making a cameo on defense while becoming one of the league's most exciting returners.

  1. Dre Kirkpatrick
  2. Darqueze Dennard
  3. Leon Hall (third-string cornerback)
  4. Adam Jones (becomes primary returner)