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NFL Kansas City Chiefs

Evaluating Potential Kansas City Chiefs Draft Prospects: Darqueze Dennard

Darqueze Dennard

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It was a bad ending to a great season for the Kansas City Chiefs. After a historic transformation from league laughingstock to playoff lock, the Chiefs eventually fell just short of the AFC divisional playoffs in their loss to the Indianapolis Colts. How short? About one decent cornerback.

The third corner position was a mess all season with rookie Marcus Cooper and it didn’t get much better when vet Dunta Robinson took over late in the year. Robinson seriously showed his age, getting burned, juked and plain embarrased by Indy wideout T.Y. Hilton.

Hilton finished with 13 reception for 224 yards and two TDs while Kansas City lost by just one point. Such is life as a Chiefs fan. Robinson, clearly past his prime, was released earlier this month. Cooper presumably isn’t defensive coordinator Bob Sutton‘s ideal choice either, so the Kansas City front office will surely be looking to add a corner via May’s draft.

One prospect that would provide immediate relief for the Chiefs’ secondary is Michigan State‘s Darqueze Dennard.

Strengths:

Perhaps the most physical corner available, Dennard allows receivers little-to-no breathing room and is great at blitzing off the edge. He’s a nightmare for offensive coordinators who over-rely on timing routes as he enjoys jamming wideouts at the line. His instincts are bare none; he promptly recognizes routes and swiftly reacts. Dennard is the type of corner that can completely take his assignment out of the game.

Weaknesses:

Limited upside potential. Dennard isn’t as athletic as many corners in the NFL, which may be exploited. He possesses decent speed, but occasionally experiences trouble with smaller, quicker receivers. He’ll bite on a good fake, but usually recovers to limit gains.

NFL player comparison:

Chicago BearsCharles Tillman. Tillman is among the top cover corners in the league while lacking ideal speed. He’s simply a gamer that has a nose for the football, a la Dennard. Moreover, both are primarily Cover-2 corners whose strengths lie in tackling and disrupting routes. In the right system, Dennard would likely flourish as Tillman has.

How he’d fit in Kansas City:

Dennard makes for a fantastic addition to a Chiefs’ secondary that became very susceptible to allowing the big play late in the season. He has sound fundamentals and doesn’t blow his coverage trying for all-or-nothing interceptions. He may not necessarily be the corner Kansas City wants, but he’s the one it needs. Dennard would take Cooper’s spot in three-receiver sets, with a chance to challenge Sean Smith as well.

Kyle Pappas covers the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @KylePap or add him to your network on Google+.