A full offseason gives coaches the opportunity to move players around based on the player’s talent and best fit on the football field. The New England Patriots‘ coaches should consider doing this to Alfonzo Dennard. And the move that they should make is to install Dennard as the slot cornerback.
For the first two seasons of his career, Dennard has been strictly used as an outside cornerback. In fact, Dennard has almost exclusively played the right cornerback position. The only game in which he spent significant time anywhere else was the most recent game against the Denver Broncos, where Dennard took over the left cornerback spot for an injured Aqib Talib.
Dennard was relentlessly torched by Demaryius Thomas in that game, which brings up a fair question of whether or not he can cover wide receivers that are big like Thomas. The truth of the matter is that Dennard had never really matched up with a big, physical wide receiver like Thomas before. And hopefully he will never have to again.
Dennard should be battling slot receivers. For one, he is built like a slot receiver at 5-foot-10, 204 pounds. A short and squat cornerback like Dennard is more quick than he is fast, and could best mirror the moves that a slot receiver makes.
Not only that, but Dennard is very physical with opposing wide receivers. He likes to jam them at the line of scrimmage, constantly disrupting their routes. That is exactly the type of cornerback that thrives against slot receivers.
Plus, Logan Ryan has emerged as a starter. Even though Ryan bounced between slot and outside cornerback, his size (5-foot-11, 191 pounds) suits him better on the outside. That way, Ryan can take good angles and jump routes like he loves to do.
So, not only is it best for Dennard to move to slot cornerback, but it is also best for the team. His size and physicality are ideal for the position. A move there would also allow Talib (should he come back) and Ryan to roam on the outside. It would be a win-win situation.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.