The Cincinnati Bengals had tremendous luck in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft when they went on the clock. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard out of Michigan State was still available, a shock to many. Dennard will have a huge impact immediately for the Bengals as he fills a much needed spot at corner. Dre Kirkpatrick has been a bust since being taken by the Bengals in the first round of the 2012 draft. Dennard adds youth and athleticism to an already tough Bengals defense.
Dennard has the ability to fill a lot of holes on the Bengals pass defense. He is an aggressive, play-making player who can play physically with whatever receiver he is covering and make plays on the ball. Adding an intimidating play maker in the secondary makes the Bengals’ D one of the scariest in the league. No quarterback is going to want to throw the ball in the direction of Leon Hall or Dennard.
One downfall about Dennard is that at times he can be too physical, and when he gets beat in coverage he has a tendency to reach out and pull the receiver back. In the NFL, he will not be able to get away with those kinds of plays and the referees will throw the flag. Another downside to Dennard is he is not the tallest corner, but he makes up for it with his actions on the field. Despite a few negative aspects of Dennard’s play, the Bengals are still extremely lucky to have snagged him as late as they did in the first round.
Of course coming out of college no one is fully prepared for the NFL no matter how great of a college career they had. Dennard has the potential to be outstanding and if he can learn a few things from the Bengals’ coaching staff then he could possibly win the starting job for the 2014 season.
Even though the Bengals’ main problem is their offense, they got a huge upgrade on the defensive side of the ball. If Cincinnati wants to start making serious runs deep into the playoffs, they got a huge defensive boost with Dennard. Despite having a top 10 defense for many years under former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, the pass coverage was probably the least spectacular aspect of the defense and now they have the tools to really up their game. If Dennard can work with his coaches and play to his full potential, I do not see how the Bengals can’t have one of the best secondaries in the league for years to come.