The 2014 BTB Community Draft continues!
This is our favorite opportunity to interact with our community and allow them some front-page limelight, while simultaneously getting our first in-depth look at several candidates for the draft's first round.
This will be much more than just one community member's idea of how to help out their assigned teams. After each selection is forwarded to me, I will gather all of the pertinent information about this prospect from some of the internet's best draft resources. We will try to highlight the profile's best and worst traits, so that our reader's are highly educated come May 8th when these guys names are called.
To keep things simple, no trades are allowed; I think for a one round exercise that does little to actually project how things are going to turn out. One GM, one team, one pick. Let's get it on!
Draft Pick # 14
Team Name: Chicago Bears
GM: BigBad Joe
Selection: (CB) Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Why the pick:
While Bear fans across the globe threw remotes at flat screens when their hated division rivals grabbed Aaron Donald at pick 8, they are all smiles now. Besides a 3 Tech DT, the Bears also need help in the defensive secondary, and sitting here at pick 14, are the top rated cover corner in this draft as well as the top two safeties.
Da Bears pre-draft projected starters at corner (Jennings/Tillman) and nickel (Hayden) while solid are all 30 or older. Tillman's (33) deal with Chicago this offseason was for only one year. Last year's starting safety tandem were Major Wright and Chris Conte. Wright is testing the FA market, while Conte will be out 4-5 months after off season shoulder surgery.
The Bears have addressed their safety needs for next year in FA, signing Ryan Mundy (Giants), MD Jennings (Packers), and Danny McCray (Cowboys). None of the three signed long terms deals, in fact the 2 years that Mundy signed was the longest. Jennings started all 16 games for the Packers last year and is expected to do the same for the Bears this year, while Mundy, with some starting experience, is an insurance policy on Conte's healthy return. McCray is purely a ST signing, we all remember the time in Dallas when he was pressed into a starting role due to injury.
This coupled with their FA moves along the D-line have give the Bears the option of going truly BPA in the first round. That the BPA also happens to fill a need is just icing on the cake. The drafting of Dennard could also have an added benefit of giving the Bears the flexibility of trying Tillman out as a FS in obvious passing downs.This move to FS could help extend his career, and you can never have too many defensive playmakers on the field at once.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): Cornerback, 4-3 Defensive Tackle
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): Strong Safety, Free Safety, Quarterback, Inside Backer, Feature Back, Guard, Tight End
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): Center, 4-3 Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Speed Receiver, Right Tackle
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): COP Back, Feature Receiver, Left Tackle
-- Drafttek.com ranked #11 Overall, #1 at the position
-- Greg Gabriel, National Football Post: #11 Overall, #1 at the position
In today's college game, you seldom see defenses play an aggressive press man coverage like Michigan State does. More often than not, teams play zone and off. State has the corners to play press, and they do an excellent job with it. Their best corner is, of course, Dennard. He usually lines up on the short side of the field and can shut his opponent down.
He has ideal size at 5'11 - 196 with long arms and good speed. I would estimate he will run in the 4.45 - 4.50 range. He has quick feet, stays low in his pedal, and a smooth turn. He plays a physical game and is very effective with his jam. He can redirect a receiver with his jam, but he also has the suddenness to mirror his man through moves. In zone and off, he doesn't give his opponent much room and is very quickly in transition. His ball skills are very good.
While many corners have cover skills, few will support the run as well as Dennard. He reacts quickly to the run and is aggressive taking on blocks and tackling. He doesn't wait for the run to come to him. He attacks the play. Dennard is one of the better press cover corners in college football.
-- CBSSports.com ranked #14 overall, #2 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #19 overall, #2 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #18 overall, #2 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #15 overall, #1 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #1 at the position
-- Josh Norris ranked #23 overall, #1 at the position
--NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
STRENGTHS: Well-built for the position with broad shoulders, long arms and good overall musculature. Confident, physical defender on the perimeter at his best providing man to man coverage and when attacking in run support. Doesn't extend an arm in press coverage, instead quickly turning to run with receivers, demonstrating the fluid hips and acceleration. Leans into receivers and uses the sideline to help narrow the space in which quarterbacks can attack. Good patience and body control to adjust when the ball is thrown. Doesn't panic, instead reaching to rip the ball away as the receiver attempts to catch it. Good ball skills. Locates the football and shows the hand-eye coordination to pluck it outside of his frame. Very good awareness and competitive spirit against the run. Fights through blocks and will take out the knees of oncoming blockers if necessary to leave teammates in position to make the splashy play. Physical and reliable open-field tackler who wraps his arms to secure the stop.
WEAKNESSES: Is a good, not great athlete. Wasn't challenged by many top-flight offenses this season and played behind a very physical front which limited how often quarterbacks could attack him deep. Some question about his straight-line speed, though he plays fast due to his fluidity. Extends his arms slightly as he runs with receivers, which could draw holding penalties.
COMPARES TO: Keenan Lewis, New Orleans Saints - The expectations of rookie cornerbacks are often unrealistic. Dennard isn't the second coming of Deion Sanders, boasting the elite agility and speed to singlehandedly shut down half of the field. He's a steady, competitive defender who will provide gritty, physical play on the perimeter, projecting as a quality starter for years to come.
'13 Darqueze Dennard vs Ohio State
'13 Darqueze Dennard vs Michigan
Houston, Jadeveon Clowney,
St Louis Rams, Greg Robinson,
Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnny Manziel,
Cleveland Browns, Blake Bortles,
Oakland Raiders, Khalil Mack
Atlanta Falcons, Jake Matthews,
Tampa Bay Bucs, Teddy Bridgewater,
Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Donald
Buffalo Bills, Sammy Watkins
Detroit Lions, Anthony Barr
Tennessee Titans, Justin Gilbert
New York Giants, Taylor Lewan
St. Louis Rams, Mike Evans