As I go into each position of the draft, I am not here to fluff them and make you fall in love with them, unless the individual is something truly awe-inspiring. Today, falling in love is not the case. With Corey Graham possibly leaving via free-agency this offseason, the Baltimore Ravens will need a third corner to fill the void. Darqueze Dennard, according to most college critics, is the best at his position and yet, I still hope Baltimore takes a pass on this Jim Thorpe Award Winner. Dennard has some upside, but has a glaring issue that could hurt his draft stock even as the top projected Corner to come off the board.
Families are common in the NFL, but not at the cornerback position. Dennard has a cousin already in the NFL in Alfonzo Dennard, and while Alfonso currently serves the New England Patriots in a functioning capacity, Darqueze might be following in his footsteps. On the upside, Darqueze is a great shadowing cornerback with a keen ability to locate the ball. He has decent speed to stay on the hips of most WRs in the game. His ability to locate the ball in the air and bat down passes is very rare at his current level. Darqueze is not only good in man-coverage, he has great vision in zone-coverage, being able to switch receivers in and instant to stay in his zone.
Ok, now that you have heard all the good that Darqueze can do at his position, I’ll get to the ugly baby. The man can’t tackle. In 2013, he had 59 tackles on the season, only 33 of those were solo; the rest were gang tackles. Darqueze likes to drop his shoulder, looking for impact hits when he should wrap up and tackle. This has caused him to miss countless tackles and allowed opponents to gain big yardage on Michigan State. Darqueze also lacks in technique. Instead of going low on bigger ball-carriers, he goes high and usually gets “trucked.” I am not the smartest man in the world, but unless your name is Deion Sanders, failing in the tackling department on defense eventually puts you on the bench, or worse, unemployed. The last thing the Ravens need is another secondary member who doesn’t tackle.
Not only is Darqueze a horrible tackler, he can’t get physical enough with receivers on running plays and is easy blocked. He may be great in man coverage, but he has no idea how to put his hands on a player and get physical at the line. When the ball is snapped, you will usually see Darqueze’s hands at his side with him already giving the receiver the route they choose to go on. His press coverage is more of the leaned-back “turnstile” variety.
If this is the top player at the position, then the 2014 Cornerback Draft class must be poor. However, if there is a gem, rest assured I will find him. Darqueze will be drafted as one of the top corners in this year, but the team who does take a chance on him might want to spend all summer focusing on tackling drills.