There seems to be a lot of debate around the future of the Eagles cornerback position in 2014. Some believe that Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher will be the guys on the outside again, with Brandon Boykin owning the slot position. On the other hand, the depth there is shaky and how strongly can you feel with those guys when the defense finished dead last in passing yard per game?
With that in mind, I expect that the Eagles will look to add some new faces to the position. They may do this in free agency, in the draft, or both. The main question to be determined is where they rank that priority.
There are some talented corners that will be coming out in this year’s draft, one of which is Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
At 5-11 and 199 pounds, Dennard doesn’t have quite the size of the Legion of Boom in Seattle, but still has a strong build. He recorded a 4.51 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine that didn’t help boost his draft stock. Dennard isn’t known as a guy with great speed, but it would have been nice to see him put up a little bit stronger number.
What he is known for is being a press corner and he has no problem getting up in any receivers face at the line of scrimmage. His ability to do so really throws off the timing between the quarterback and receiver. At the same time, he can play off the ball and uses good hip movement to stay with receivers as they come at him with a full head of steam.
Check out this video of Dennard against Michigan, via DraftBreakdown.com.
Dennard fits the bill of a true cover corner. He is not a great tackler. Although he will try to step up and make plays from time to time, he doesn’t always do so successfully. I don’t view it as a make or break quality for a corner. I want my corner to be able to cover. He needs to be able to tackle better than Asante Samuel, but that’s not asking too much.
Dennard has been linked to the Eagles in many mock drafts. If he’s still on the board when the Eagles come up, it’ll be interesting to see what they do. At that point, he could be the type of player to help a secondary that could use a boost. Do they think the corners they have are good enough for 2014? If so, how much weight do they put in drafting a corner for the long-term? Dennard could be a nice addition to contribute for many years.