Draft Daily: Close-Up On Darqueze Dennard

NCAA Football: Youngstown State at Michigan State

If the Eagles draft defense with the No. 22 pick, the most likely position they’ll target is cornerback.

That’s not necessarily because of need, but more because of who will probably be available.

“There really are five corners at the top end,” said Mike Mayock in an interview with the Daily News. “Everybody has different opinions on who the best ones are. The most talented corners are [Ohio State’s Bradley] Roby and [Oklahoma State’s Justin] Gilbert. But I don’t think they’re the best football players. I think [Michigan State’s Darqueze] Dennard and [Virginia Tech’s Kyle] Fuller are the two best football players.

“If any of those four are available and the Eagles are on the clock, I think they have to take a hard look at taking one of them right away.”

We’ll take a look at those four players in the coming days, starting with Dennard.

Note that Dennard ran a 4.51 at the combine (the number listed above is either a mistake or from his Pro Day). At 5-11, 199, he has adequate size, but isn’t necessarily long. Dennard actually has short arms compared to his peers (9th percentile).

But his production in college was outstanding. From Rotoworld’s Josh Norris:

An extremely physical corner who loves to press at the line of scrimmage. Frequently patient with his jam, not overextending but rather allowing the receiver to enter contact area. Rides inside hip downfield while sustaining position. Hand fights and flips his head quickly when receiver looks back for the football at the top of their route.

Dennard’s strength is man coverage. He likes to play up at the line of scrimmage and get his hands on receivers.

While assessing CB play is impossible without the benefit of All-22, we can take a look at some of the things Dennard does well. He presses all game long and is a physical player:

And Dennard is also very good when the ball is in the air:

Here, he closes quickly on the comeback route and shows strong hands, breaking up the pass near the sideline:

And here against Michigan, he’s again in man coverage, making the interception at the top of your screen:

There’s a lot to like with Dennard. He’s a physical player who excels in man coverage. He can tackle too and make plays against the run.

But I’m not sure he’s on the short list of candidates at No. 22. In terms of scheme, Dennard is likely more attractive to teams that frequently put their corners on an island in man coverage. From a measurables standpoint, there’s only been one example in the last three years of a cornerback under 6 feet who ran a 4.5 or worse going in the first round. And that was Morris Claiborne.

Dennard has an excellent shot of being a productive NFL player, but the guess here is the Eagles have other corners in this class rated higher.

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  • Scott J

    Not long enough.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I don’t mind adding some talent to the secondary. But I do feel that we’re in a fairly decent position at CB for this year to not have to spend a high pick there. Especially when OLB & WR are more dire needs for this year. I wouldn’t mind seeing a high pick at CB next year though.

    Yes, I understand value at the time you pick. But I’d rather trade back & pick up an extra mid rounder than take a CB high this year.

    • peteike

      my thoughts exactly, maybe pick one up later in draft.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        That’s what I meant. I don’t mind adding a developmental guy or depth, but save that for the mid rounds. I’d also like to see what Carroll has to offer. He’s a relatively young player that’s supposed to be on par with Fletcher. That’s more than just good insurance if that’s the case. He could be a guy to compete for a starting role.

    • Eagles1018

      Agreed. Also, looking at these examples, 3 out of those 4 videos, it looks like those would be called pass interference or some sort of defensive secondary penalty. He used his hands after 5 yards, and grabbed that one guy by his neck when he got that half a step on him. I see the potential for penalty yards looking at Dennards type of play. Which is unfair because I’d prefer Calvin Pryor if he is available here.

    • All In Eagles

      I think S is more important than CB this year. So, I’d say S or OLB at 22 and then a WR at 54. Of course if a top 3 WR falls to 22 then you take him.

      • Mike D

        I happen to disagree, but mainly because I think the top 2 safeties will be gone by 22. The only OLB I could justify taking at 22 would be Barr, but I sincerely doubt he drops that far. Also, you said “top 3 WR”: who is the 3rd behind Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans? I think most people are saying that Lee, Beckham, and Cooks are all 3a, 3b, and 3c, right?

  • ceedubya9

    Fuller or the best Wr on their board. But who knows who might fall into their lap when 22 rolls around

  • Jerry Pomroy

    So for those following, I gave in and got cable back. Yay! I can watch the draft!!

    I think I’m gonna start saving here and there for the Sunday Ticket Max so that I can watch the games online on my laptop and then connect to my TV via Chromecast. Done some homework.

    • Eagles1018

      Need more info please? I’m living in Charlotte now and I found an Eagles bar but it’s like a 40 min drive and I end up drinking too much and spending more than planned

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Sunday Ticket Max is a regular subscription but with the addition of online access. Look it up online. It’s meant for subscribers that cant get DirecTV due to line of sight issues on the satellite.

        If you get a Google Chromecast USB receiver, you can plug that into your TV to connect your laptop to your TV wirelessly. You need to keep the laptop on and your screensaver off. Of course you could also just plug your laptop into the TV via an HDMI cable if your laptop has an HDMI Out port.

        • Bukester

          I have Gamepass here in Denmark where I can watch ALL NFL games. Probably the same service. I emailed customer support to see if they will support Chromecast. As it is now, I dont think the browser window to watch the game is “cast-able”. With mine, you browse to the Gamepass site via Chrome browser, choose a game which launches another window or “screen” to view the game. That screen does not have the Chromecast icon to redirect to your TV. So, either your package supports this with a chromecast plug-in (and perhaps Gamepass will in short time) or this will not work as expected. I hope I am wrong. I will give it a try when I get home. Its an important difference, because if the service has Chromecast support, then your laptop doesnt have to render the picture on the laptop – then, essentially, clone to the TV. The beauty with Chromecast is it just streams data to the TV which builds the picture. The video card in the laptop does nothing.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            You’d think that the NFL would’ve caught on by now that they’d have a HUGE market for people that follow out of market teams. I worked under the DirecTV umbrella for 8yrs and the whispers the past few years were that they were looking to move away from exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket. They’ve been focusing with strengthening their base with customer service, satisfaction and expanding their technology (hardware & software) at a much faster rate than competitors. The thought is that they’ll eventually be priced out of the running for the exclusive rights which they currently pay 1 billion a season and that’s expected to go up to 1.4 billion in a new contract. DTV wants 8yrs, NFL wants 5yrs. Current contract runs through this season. I really wish that it wasn’t exclusive to one provider, but rather offered across most providers as it stands as a package, or even possibly a per game pay per view.

      • NickS1

        That sounds like almost every trip to a bar I’ve ever made.

    • Mike D

      Just an FYI, if Sunday Ticket does an “online-only” deal like they did last year with Madden Anniversary edition, you can get it for $100 (and then you can sell the game for ~$40 if you don’t want it). I did this last year with my Chromecast and it worked very well for the most part (they had a few server hiccups in the beginning of the season). Just food for thought.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Yes that was an option as well that I had read about from last year. Not sure they’ll be doing the same this year.

  • Glenn

    If we do get a cornerback, I doubt its one who has short arms, small hands, and ran a 4.51. Especially with Chip at the helm now. I think this guy is overrated.

    • oreofestar

      I think if they go CB in round 1 it is either Gilbert (but he would have to take a nasty slide and I can’t see him getting past Pitt at 15) or the only true option Fuller who I like the most

  • Neanderthal

    Do not want Dennard. Fuller would seem to be a Chippah guy

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Looks like Eagles are checking out the possible UDFAs


  • southy

    If we are even considering CB in the first, I gotta believe Fuller is the guy. BD has a crush on him like Chip does on Evans.

  • Dominik

    “If the Eagles draft defense with the No. 22 pick, the most likely position they’ll target is cornerback.”

    Better hope that’s not the case. My ranking with #22 goes:

    1. Barr

    2. WR (if Kelly thinks they bring enough value)

    3. Trade down

    10. Safety

    11. CB

    • knighn

      But what are 4 through 9? Surely you don’t mean for the Eagles to draft Ellipses!

      • Richard Colton

        Ellipses Jones, ILB, The “U”

        • knighn

          Before our son was born, my wife and I joked with our friends about potential names for him. “Ellipses” was one that kept coming up.
          Ultimately, we went in another direction. We’re so glad we did.
          We love our little Exclamation Point!

      • Jerry Pomroy

        I think he was side tracked or had a mental block in counting… lol. J/k with yah Dom.

        That’s actually pretty close to my hopeful strategy. Although I’d be tempted to go straight from Barr to trade back, then to WR.

        • knighn

          Honestly, I haven’t taken the time to put together a player value chart for this draft. I’m sure the Eagles have. As long as they stick to it and don’t reach too far, I’m sure it will work out OK.
          Here’s the thing about “Trading Back” – everyone talks about it like it’s automatic, just like “Trading DeSean” was supposed to be automatic. The other teams know that it is a deep draft and may not want to give up the extra players to move up. It takes two to Tango, and if the Eagles don’t get close to fair value in a Trade Back they’re probably better off staying put.

          • Warhound

            Right you are. However, you gotta figure the Niners will look to trade; they have more picks than they can use. That might mean trading up or they could look to trade for picks in next years draft. Now that I think about it that’s probably the smarter move for them. But, they are the most likely trade partner if the Eagles try to move back.

          • knighn

            If the 49ers want to trade to an NFC competitor that they will play this year… and vice-versa. Like I said: it’s got to be at least a fair trade for the Eagles otherwise they risk strengthening a strong conference rival without getting fair value in return. Bad move and bad PR.

          • Warhound

            Like you I think that everyone can see the value in this draft and that the 9ers are the team that is most likely to trade up. I would not expect the Eagles to take a bad trade. I’m not sure if they care with whom they trade; maybe they do.

  • Ian Farley

    After signing Nolan Carroll and Still having Williams, Fletcher and Boykin on the roster, i doubt the eagles go CB first pick. unless it was Gilbert i dont see the value. Too many guys available all over the draft that have potential. I think they are bound to go for a Safety if either of the top 2 are there or WR. and I definitely wouldn’t be shocked to see them move up for a guy they covet…. have a sneaking suspicion Barr is the guy….

    • Jerry Pomroy

      Barr’s got a killer instinct that you just can’t coach into a player. My hope is that enough teams were shied away by his tape that he falls right into our lap and we don’t have to move up.

      • Ian Farley

        He has all the ability and played 18 months of OLB netting 23 sacks or something like that….. skies the limit for this kid. just gotta hope he falls far enough.

  • Maggie

    The Eagles would be idiots to take a corner in the first round. Don’t believe they are idiots. Unless there is a prearranged trade with another team which really needs a corner.

  • korman

    Only concern with me is the arm-length. Very technically precise player.