I’ve written before about how if the Kansas City Chiefs are going to continue to compete for the foreseeable future, they’re going to have to have to be able to defend the pass more so than the run. With quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning (at least for the next year or so) and Phillip Rivers, the Chiefs are going to have to be able to defend the pass and go up against some of the better wide receivers in the NFL in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker (maybe), Wes Welker, Keenan Allen and Oakland’s Denarius Moore. The Chiefs currently have Pro Bowl corner back Brandon Flowers, who is still very good, but is undersized and should probably be playing in the slot. They also have Sean Smith, who is a bigger defender, but they could use another solid corner back. Flowers isn’t going to be around much longer so drafting a top tier corner back now makes a lot of sense. Enter Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard.
Darqueze Dennard anchored a Michigan State defense that was tops in the Big Ten and number one in the country in total defense. Defense still does win championships as they beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship and secured a win over the very tough Stanford Cardinal in the Rose Bowl. Dennard was a key contributor all season long and as a result, he became a shut down corner and elevated his draft status. Teams will want him for his decent size, 5’11 and 195 pounds. This gives him the ability to play against bigger receivers while using his good press strength. He is very good at anticipating routes and can react quickly to what they will be running. He is a fierce competitor and is extremely confidant in his abilities. He is also a good leader. He is deceptively fast, but most importantly he can play against bigger receivers and is confidant in doing so. The knock on Dennard is that injuries have slowed him down. He also wasn’t asked to play a lot of zone coverage in college, so it’ll be interesting to see if that will hurt him in the NFL where most teams play zone coverage at some point during games.
If the Chiefs were to draft Dennard, they would be getting a proven winner who can play against top tier NFL wide receivers and could step in right away and play. The Chiefs would just need to keep him healthy but based on what Dennard brings to the table, drafting him in the first round with the 23rd pick is definitely worth the risk.