Lions Could Stand In Way Of CB Darqueze Dennard Dropping To Steelers

In a recent poll that I posted on the site, I asked readers to rank 10 players that I believed could possibly be on the board when the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the clock with the 15th overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard came in second behind Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. While the consensus seems to be that Evans will likely be gone by the time the Steelers pick, I think one team stands in the way of Dennard dropping to the Steelers.

The Detroit Lions, who currently own the 10th overall selection, are in need of a cornerback as they just can’t count on current starters Rashean Mathis and Chris Houston to carry the load in 2014. To be specific, Mathis will turn 34 prior to the start of the season and Houston, 29, hasn’t been the same since 2012. To make matters worse, Houston still isn’t 100 percent healed from the toe injury that he suffered late last season.

While Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert certainly could be an option for the Lions at the ten spot, Dennard probably best fits the Lions defense and is probably the more NFL-ready of the two, according to Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.

“Dennard is the best in terms of overall play and being able to compete at the position,” Kiper said last week during his pre draft conference call with the media.

During his Thursday conference call with the media, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock also listed Dennard as a legitimate option for the Lions at No. 10.

“I think if they stay at 10, there could be a whole lot of different ways they go,” said Mayock. “I’ve done a bunch of different mock drafts on my own. Last night I did a dual mock draft where I picked two picks for every team. One of them I had Darqueze Dennard, another one I had Zack Martin.

“From my perspective defensively, they need a back-end guy, a safety or a corner, and offensively the highest rated O-line men was a wide receiver. I really believe that Watkins is going to be gone. There’s a good chance Mike Evans could be gone so they have to be ready in case those guys are gone to look at the highest rated corner or offensive lineman on their board.”

Being as he played his college football at nearby Michigan State, the Lions certainly should know quite a bit about Dennard. However, just in case they did miss something, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin put him through a private workout back in March.

The Lions have also brought in Gilbert for a pre draft visit, so I think it will come down to either him or Dennard. Which ever one they pass on could be the one the Steelers wind up taking five picks later.

  • Tullydew

    Fuller should be the pick at #15, even if Dennard is still available. He is the best CB in the draft.

  • Paddy

    That would be my choice and then WR in second

  • Jacque Strappe

    I hope we the scenario happens that we are able to trade down and stockpile picks. Still hoping we are the 49ers trade partner.

  • dgh57

    The Lions could go in many different ways but if not Fuller will work for me at CB! Just give me a player that can help this team out be it at CB, WR, or even a LT like a Lewan.

  • grw1960

    I would be OK with Fuller or Dennard. But I haven’t seen anything any where that says they have show much interest in Fuller. No high ranking coaches at his pro day, a report he was scheduled for a Steelers visit, but unconfirmed whether or not it actually took place. Maybe that is the way they wanted to be, I don’t know. It worries me that Tomlin seems to like speed type guys. Tomlin could be pulling for Gilbert?

  • Chris Wyman

    If the Lions take a CB I’ll be a monkey’s uncle

  • James Kling

    Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora recently did a piece on the WR’s “true height,” adding height + arm length + vertical jump.
    Most folks agree the top CBs in the draft are, in some order, Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, and Kyle Fuller. Jason Verrett, about an inch shorter, is seen as being too short to man the outside, and therefore not a R1 value. But the kid can obviously play, and when we line up “true height”:
    Fuller: 142.98″ (11.92′)
    Gilbert: 140.73″ (11.73′)
    Verrett: 139.40″ (11.62′)
    *Dennard: 136.95″ (11.41′)
    So with his leaping ability, Verrett’s right in the mix. He’s tough as nails, will take on RBs, and has excellent speed and ball skills. Dude put up 19 reps with a torn labrum. So why should we sleep on him, when the difference in height between him and Dennard is made up for by his leaping skills?

    *Dennards VJ of 36″ courtesy of NFL Draft Scout; all others reported in Steelers Depot combine weigh-ins.

  • Douglas Andrews

    My pick is in and it’s Fuller to us at 1.15. Not only does he fit the mold of a Steelers CB he can play man press and he attacks the line of scrimmage. The other CB’s can do a lot well but I feel like after watching Fuller’s tape he can be an exceptional CB for the Steelers D.

  • Jeff Anoble

    There is a good chance Tennessee at pick 11 is taking a CB as well. Fuller should be there no doubt at 15, but I’m sorry I still like Gilbert and Dennard so much better.

  • Rob

    Be patient, someone highly graded will fall to us, whether it’s a WR, DB, OT, OLB, or DL. We have so many needs that it’s almost impossible not to have one of the top players in the draft at those positions available to us when we select. Hopefully there is more than 1 and we can trade back a few slots and still get our man–or one of them anyway. Personally, I’d love to see Dennard at 1.15 and then add Cockrell from duke in round 4 or 5.

  • dkoy85

    Fuller or Dennard would make me happy.

    I’ve been seeing recently that Lamarcus Joyner has been shuffled all the way into the mid 2nd round. I’m hoping those mocks are wrong and the projections of him in round 4-5 are right because he presents great value there. Would love to see this kid in black and yellow. The kid hits hard and has a great back story that the Steelers covet and he’s a very hard worker. He has position flexibility and think he will be a very good sub package CB. I think he had like 5 or 6 sacks and 3 FF last year! He reminds me of Shark, who I am expecting to take over for Polamalu, even though most see him as a sub package player. Shark, Mitchell, Dennard/Fuller, Allen and Joyner on the field is very dangerous. I’d hate to be a WR/TE anywhere on the field and would love to see Joyner grabbed in rd 4(or 3rd rd comp pick if we trade back and pick up a 3rd).

  • dkoy85

    Plus he can return kicks in a pinch.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    True height has some value but it doesn’t mean a short corner that can jump higher is going to bejusdt as good.

    Being tall doesn’t require high pointing, timing or hang time which means the short guy is only as good when he is at the peak of his jump which isn’t often.

  • James Kling

    Right, I get that – which is why I’d value shorter CBs with better anticipation (Dennard, Verrett) over a guy like Gilbert, or much more so, Roby, who don’t seem to have that hardwired in. These guys may be shorter, but they know when to go up and get their hands up there. They also play a physical style that can be disruptive of the routes.

    If the tall receiver gets a clean jump off the LOS and can get some separation, they can win the jump balls or jockey for an over the shoulder catch. But Dennard and Verrett also seem to be good about bringing their guys down when beaten.

    I’d rank the CBs 1a. Dennard, 1b. Verrett, 2a. Fuller, 2b. Gilbert. Roby’s fast, but I have way too many questions on him, seeing him get burned so often. So I’d take Verrett in R1, especially in a trade-back situation.

  • James Kling

    Much slower than Shamarko though. Not sure he’s really of the Shark/Honey Badger mold, but a really good collegiate player.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    You can’t get it if you come to that conclusion.

    You are also choosing a player based on elite jumping skills to compete which means injury and age will impact him very quickly.

    I can’t say I know which of the players you mention is better or not but I can say that an inch of height has more value than an inch of vertical.

  • steelster

    with this being said are you a fan of shamarko Thomas.

  • grw1960

    Do, you want some bananas ?

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Heck yeah!

    I’m a big fan of verrett as well.

    Short guys can be amazing and a 40 inch vertical does make you special.

    I’m just saying you can’t combine those numbers unless you adjust the values because an inch of height, arm length and vertical have different values.

  • James Kling

    As I said, this observation was based on the true heigh metric Alex introduced. If Dennard is a slam-dunk R1 prospect, he’s only 1″ taller than Verrett. Even if you value an inch of height more than an inch of VJ, Verrett had 3″ more VJ. At some point it factors.

    Now, will a smaller CB who has to rely on that sort of physicality wear faster? I don’t know, possibly. But Verrett is tough as nails. My rule of thumb was never to put a CB on an island if he was under 5’10”, but this kid’s a good enough player that I might make the exception.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    It’s not about wearing faster.

    Its about jumping ability declining while height and arm length remain the same.

    I’m not trying to argue players with you but the idea of verrett and shamarko on the field together makes me worry and since we have Thomas I would lean away.

  • Weiss Chad

    U had my attn til u said black and yellow.Joyner might be best cb in draft if u get over his height.

  • cp72


  • Nathaniel Revard

    Dennard should be the lions pick he brings a nastiest to the cb position much like Sherman he may not be the complete package like Sherman but a young aggressive dre bly’ good consolation