Darqueze Dennard is arguably the top cornerback prospect in this year’s draft. He obviously has the talent to succeed at the NFL level, but how high he can soar has been questioned by a lot of experts. Whether it is his effort, level of competition, or poor tackling angles, he could be seen as a project. Other teams may see him as an instinctual player who can be plugged into a system right away and be an impact player.
He could succeed in an aggressive defense that wants to utilize his ability to play one-on-one. However, he could be seen as a liability in run support unless he can get to a team with a coach that can help him develop those skills.
Here are his statistics over 4 years at Michigan State:
33 games played
- 105 solo tackles
- 167 total tackles
- 10 tackles for a loss
- 1 sack
- 10 interceptions
- 1 defensive touchdown
- 26 passes defended
- 3 forced fumbles
- Plays bigger than he actually is
- Great instincts
- Excellent at locating the ball in the air
- Good man-on-man coverage skills
- Seems to get a lot of penalties
- Faced few great receivers in conference
- Needs to work on wrapping up when tackling
- Effort has been questioned
Fit For The Vikings
The Vikings have a huge need to fill at cornerback. Right now, they have only Xavier Rhodes, Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater, Robert Steeples and Kip Edwards under contract. So there is a need for a new starter and some depth at the position.
Minnesota could choose to take a cornerback with their first round draft pick, but if they do, I assume it will be after trading down. There are several quality cornerbacks in this year’s draft and that could have Dennard sliding. While the Vikings will add several players at this position, I don’t think they will choose a cornerback at #8 overall.