The 2014 NFL draft is fast approaching, and with just under a month until judgment day teams and players are growing anxious. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a gaping need at the cornerback position with Ike Taylor nearing retirement and no clear replacement looming. Enter Darqueze Dennard. The All-American CB from Michigan State would be a perfect fit for the black and yellow.
The Steelers struck gold with Taylor back in the 2003 NFL draft; It’s not often that a fourth round pick turns into a perennial Pro-Bowler. Despite this stroke of luck, no suitable successor has yet been found. It’s not as if the Steelers haven’t tried to find their next shutdown corner, it’s that they have tried too hard to replicate their success with Taylor. The Steelers haven’t taken a CB earlier than the third round since 2005, yet have taken a CB in every draft since then. It’s time to straightforwardly address the issue and use their first or second pick on a secondary player.
Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense demands the secondary to be physical, both on the outside and in tackling. Dennard is the most talented player in this draft who fits the Steelers’ mold. While not particularly large at 5’ 11″, Dennard is renowned for his press coverage and tackling ability.
Comparable in size and skillset is Darrelle Revis, who stands at the exact same height. They both have similar styles of play and came into their respective drafts with similar positives and negatives. Revis was knocked for his lack of deep speed, and so is Dennard. The biggest difference between the two talented corners is that Revis has much softer hands and will probably get more interceptions. Dennard is one of the best players available at No. 15 overall and fits the need as well. The Steelers would be very lucky to have him fall into their laps come May 8.