Bears Draft: Making the Case for CB Darqueze Dennard
With the Bears addition of DE Jared Allen in March, their need for a strong defensive back is amplified. This Thursday, they should be looking to take a high impact, playmaker, which they could find in Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard.
The Chicago Bears are often thought of for their defense- the sheer tough grit each player showcases on the field and the warrior like mentality the defensive unit embodies. Known as the Monsters of the Midway, the Bears have long upheld this tradition of defensive greatness, intimidation and creating turnovers. Coming off the worst defensive performance in franchise history, the Bears are looking to revamp their tradition and, according to GM Phil Emery, is looking for “true playmakers” to aid in the process.
Defensive end Jared Allen came from the Minnesota Vikings to the Bears in March as a prolific pass rusher- someone who undeniably wreaks havoc. He embodies everything that Chicago stands for on the field, but also upholds the traditional Bears character off the field. Allen is seen as a hard worker and a tough guy, with a get-it-done attitude. Not only is he a perfect addition to the city and franchise, but he also makes the case for the Bears to draft Michigan State standout CB Darqueze Dennard even stronger.
This might seem like an interesting correlation. Allen is a defensive end who plays in the trenches, a speed pass rusher, while Dennard is cornerback, who plays in space with speed and great ball skills. But the one thing that makes these two go hand in hand- they are both playmakers on the field.
Dennard enters the draft coming off a season in which he was an All-American and the winner of the Jim Thorpe award, as the country’s top defensive back (a feat that has never been done by a Spartan). His ability to play press coverage and take away the opponent’s best WR allowed MSU’s defense attack the quarterback and not worry about getting beat deep. Dennard ended his career with 167 tackles, 20 passes defended and 10 interceptions, in only 44 games.
It is no doubt Dennard has the skills to compete in the NFL. Michigan State Coach Mark D’Antonio calls Dennard the “hardest working person” he knows, which is quite a statement from the coach that led his team of abundant talent to their first Rose Bowl since 1988. These are outstanding credentials, but what also helps is that Michigan State is a program known for stifling defense…just like the Bears.
Another factor that makes his addition even more appealing is the resigning of Bears great, Charles “Peanut” Tillman. Tillman has been the NFL’s model cornerback for the past 11 years. He not only is he an example of how to play cornerback and creator of the “Peanut Punch”, but his tough as nails, subdued demeanor makes him the complete package for the city and franchise. Tillman would be the ultimate mentor for a young player like Dennard, who from the look of things, has all the skills and drive to become the Bears next great cornerback. And what better way than to learn from the winner of the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award?
Dennard is not the clear front-runner for the Bears first round pick on Thursday, but he should be. Many mock drafts have the Bears drafting Aaron Donald DT from Pitt or Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, but the only way the Monsters of the Midway are going to get back to being the best defense in the league is to add true playmakers in the secondary. Darqueze Dennard would be a promising start.