2014 Draft

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 NFL.com, 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 nfldraftscout.com. 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.

YEAR PICK # PLAYER COLLEGE NFL HGT WGT 40 TIME
2014 * Darqueze Dennard
Michigan State TBD 5107 199 4.51
2014 * Justin Gilbert Oklahoma State TBD 6001 202 4.37
2013 9 Dee Milliner Alabama NYJ 5117 201 4.35
2013 12 D.J. Hayden* Houston OAK 5111 191 4.40
2013 22 Desmond Trufant Washington ATL 5115 190 4.38
2013 25 Xavier Rhodes Florida State MIN 6014 210 4.39
2012 6 Morris Claiborne LSU DAL 5111 188 4.50
2012 10 Stephon Gilmore South Carolina BUF 6004 190 4.38
2012 17 Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama CIN 6015 186 4.50
2011 5 Patrick Peterson LSU ARI 6002 219 4.31
2011 19 Prince Amukamara Nebraska NYG 6000 206 4.38
2011 27 Jimmy Smith Colorado BAL 6022 211 4.42
2010 7 Joe Haden Florida CLE 5106 193 4.52
2010 20 Kareem Jackson Alabama HOU 5104 196 4.40
2010 27 Devin McCourty Rutgers NE 5106 193 4.38
2010 29 Kyle Wilson* Boise State NYJ 5100 194 4.43
2010 32 Patrick Robinson Florida State NO 5112 190 4.46
2009 14 Malcolm Jenkins Ohio State NO 6001 204 4.51
2009 25 Vontae Davis Illinois MIA 5111 203 4.40
2008 11 Leodis McKelvin Troy BUF 5102 190 4.38
2008 16 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Tennessee State ARI 6014 184 4.29
2008 20 Aqib Talib Kansas TB 6006 202 4.44
2008 25 Mike Jenkins South Florida DAL 5102 197 4.38
2008 27 Antoine Cason Arizona SD 6002 191 4.45
2007 14 Darrelle Revis* Pittsburgh NYJ 5114 204 4.38
2007 18 Leon Hall Michigan CIN 5112 193 4.39
2007 20 Aaron Ross Texas NYG 6004 193 4.44
2006 15 Tye Hill Clemson STL 5095 185 4.34
2006 16 Jason Allen Tennessee MIA 6007 209 4.39
2006 19 Antonio Cromartie Florida State SD 6021 208 4.47
2006 24 Johnathan Joseph South Carolina CIN 5110 193 4.31
2006 31 Kelly Jennings Miami (Fla.) SEA 5107 178 4.39
2005 6 Pacman Jones* West Virginia TEN 5094 187 4.38
2005 8 Antrel Rolle* Miami (Fla.) ARI 6001 198 4.48
2005 9 Carlos Rogers Auburn WAS 6003 196 4.44
2005 23 Fabian Washington Nebraska OAK 5104 188 4.29
2005 29 Marlin Jackson Michigan IND 6005 198 4.52
2004 8 DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech ATL 5100 202 4.34
2004 10 Dunta Robinson South Carolina HOU 5105 186 4.34
2004 25 Ahmad Carroll Arkansas GB 5095 195 4.34
2004 28 Chris Gamble * Ohio State CAR 6012 198 4.52

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