Lack Of Size, Speed Doesn’t Matter When It Comes To Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard

When the defensive backs worked out Tuesday at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, it was predictable that the size and long-speed of Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard would be discussed. Dennard measured in at just under 5’11” and according to, he had an official 40-yard dash time of 4.51 seconds. So should these numbers be of concern?

As a means of comparison, I pulled all of the combine heights and 40 times of all the cornerbacks that were drafted in the first round dating back to 2004. In order to keep the data source consistent, I pulled these numbers from For the cornerbacks that did not run at the combine, I used their posted pro day time and this is denoted with an asterisk next to their name.

As you can see in the sortable table below, Dennard’s 4.51 40 time is just .01 away from tying him for the slowest in this group of players. His height also puts him near the top of the bottom third from tallest to shortest. However, Dennard has some good company in this group of players as Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden is not only a hair shorter than he is, he also was a tick slower in the 40. Haden, as you know, was drafted seventh overall by the Browns in 2010 and is currently regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

These measurables are just for comparison and in no way should they be used to predict success or failure. Instead, if you like numbers that perhaps hold more weight, I suggest you read the breakdown of the top cornerbacks in the 2014 draft class done by Greg Peshek.

If long speed were a problem for Dennard, it probable would have shown when he was targeted 20 or more yards down the field and especially since he lined up an astounding 26.92% of the time in press coverage. Dennard, as you can see in Peshek’s research, only allowed 8.33% of the passes thrown 20 yards or more down to be completed. In fact, 47.06% of the throws that went Dennard’s way were deep balls.

When all else fails, just turn on Dennard’s tape, because that’s what really matters the most. When you do, you will really see just how impressive and physical he his, and why the Pittsburgh Steelers have no shot at drafting him unless they trade up.

In the case of Dennard, his lack of size and speed doesn’t matter one bit and he should be a good one.

2014*Darqueze Dennard
Michigan StateTBD51071994.51
2014*Justin Gilbert Oklahoma StateTBD60012024.37
20139Dee MillinerAlabamaNYJ51172014.35
201312D.J. Hayden*HoustonOAK51111914.40
201322Desmond TrufantWashingtonATL51151904.38
201325Xavier RhodesFlorida StateMIN60142104.39
20126Morris ClaiborneLSUDAL51111884.50
201210Stephon GilmoreSouth CarolinaBUF60041904.38
201217Dre KirkpatrickAlabamaCIN60151864.50
20115Patrick PetersonLSUARI60022194.31
201119Prince AmukamaraNebraskaNYG60002064.38
201127Jimmy SmithColoradoBAL60222114.42
20107Joe HadenFloridaCLE51061934.52
201020Kareem JacksonAlabamaHOU51041964.40
201027Devin McCourtyRutgersNE51061934.38
201029Kyle Wilson*Boise StateNYJ51001944.43
201032Patrick RobinsonFlorida StateNO51121904.46
200914Malcolm JenkinsOhio StateNO60012044.51
200925Vontae DavisIllinoisMIA51112034.40
200811Leodis McKelvinTroyBUF51021904.38
200816Dominique Rodgers-CromartieTennessee StateARI60141844.29
200820Aqib TalibKansasTB60062024.44
200825Mike JenkinsSouth FloridaDAL51021974.38
200827Antoine CasonArizonaSD60021914.45
200714Darrelle Revis*PittsburghNYJ51142044.38
200718Leon HallMichiganCIN51121934.39
200720Aaron RossTexasNYG60041934.44
200615Tye HillClemsonSTL50951854.34
200616Jason AllenTennesseeMIA60072094.39
200619Antonio CromartieFlorida StateSD60212084.47
200624Johnathan JosephSouth CarolinaCIN51101934.31
200631Kelly JenningsMiami (Fla.)SEA51071784.39
20056Pacman Jones*West VirginiaTEN50941874.38
20058Antrel Rolle*Miami (Fla.)ARI60011984.48
20059Carlos RogersAuburnWAS60031964.44
200523Fabian WashingtonNebraskaOAK51041884.29
200529Marlin JacksonMichiganIND60051984.52
20048DeAngelo HallVirginia TechATL51002024.34
200410Dunta RobinsonSouth CarolinaHOU51051864.34
200425Ahmad CarrollArkansasGB50951954.34
200428Chris Gamble *Ohio StateCAR60121984.52