Darqueze Dennard NFL Draft 2014: Grading Bengals' First Round Pick

Team Stream Now@@bleacherreportB/R VideoMay 9, 2014

Darqueze Dennard was drafted 24th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 NFL draft. The former Michigan State corner ranks as one of the best players at his position, and his talent was too much for the Bengals to pass up. 

Dennard comes into this draft as the 2013 Thorpe Award winner as the best defensive back in the sport. He was an excellent cover corner with the Spartans, a key cog in their lockdown defense last season. 

The former Spartan is a big, strong, physical force on the outside, capable of knocking receivers off their routes and locking down in man-to-man coverage. He's a smart, savvy defender, who knows the lines to use to limit a quarterback's options, and is an excellent tackler. He's a gritty, tough player with the skills to shine in the pros. 

But Dennard isn't without warts. He's not an elite athlete, and his linear speed isn't amazing. He's not a Deion Sanders-type, capable of making every play and wowing constantly, and he can be beaten deep. 

Will Dennard emerge as a strong contributor right away? Or will his lack of top-level speed and agility hold him back? Watch as our Draft experts discuss his ceiling and what the rookie will bring to the NFL

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