In the too-early speculative nature of NFL mock drafts, the consensus have the Detroit Lions unanimously taking Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard at No. 10 overall. I am here to tell you why, although cornerback is one of their major needs in the draft, the Lions should not take Dennard No. 10 overall.
Everything screams Detroit taking Dennard. He starred on the nation’s top defense in 2013. His nickname is “No Fly Zone” for shutting down receivers in his territory. Dennard also played in the Lions’ backyard where the team has plenty of resources and less travel time to watch everything about Dennard and see how he would fit and interact on an NFL team.
I have reservations when it comes to Dennard. The depth at cornerback in this year’s class is pretty solid, including Oklahoma State‘s Justin Gilbert, who is just as talented as Dennard, and some sleepers in TCU‘s Jason Verrett and Ohio State‘s Bradley Roby.
While Dennard’s year was impressive, what big-time wide receivers did he compete against in the mockery that is the Big Ten? Aside from Michigan‘s Jeremy Gallon and Nebraska‘s Kenny Bell, who are marginal players at best, there weren’t any world beaters that Dennard had to prepare for week-in and week-out. During MSU’s only loss to Notre Dame, Dennard was flagged multiple times for pass interference, and in the Rose Bowl he gave up a long pass to Stanford‘s Ty Montgomery early in the game that led to an opening drive score for the Cardinal.
I like Dennard as an NFL player; I’m just not sold on him as a Top-10 cornerback. He’s a good player, but he’s not in the class of a more recent top-10 cornerback in Patrick Peterson.
Could there be a scenario where Dennard rises and the Lions would trade up or where Dennard falls and the Lions trade back? Sure, but with months of activity yet to be decided, don’t jump so fast on this Spartan as a future Lion.