The New York Giants' secondary definitely overperformed last year. They were a solid group of rag-tag players who all have concerns. Trumaine McBride played exceptionally well, but he's a journeyman. What if he's a fluke? Prince Amukamara has been a solid player who has finally seemed to put his injury issues behind him. Terrell Thomas cannot be relied upon, though he had a strong year. We still don't really know who Jayron Hosley is.
Michigan St. cornerback Darqueze Dennard has the potential to come to East Rutherford and finally solidify a position that's among one of the most important in football. We all saw what happens when you don't have a good secondary. In 2011, the Giant pass rush was near dominant, but still ranked 29th in defense due to teams torching the back end (thank goodness for Eli that year). In 2012, Corey Webster was toasted early and often and the Giants suffered because of it. Let's look closer at Dennard with today's 2014 NFL Draft prospect profile.
- Sticks to his man like glue. Allows very little separation.
- Fluid hips. Can twist and turn on his switch with ease.
- Reaction time and body control are sublime. This is his calling card. He can identify and adjust to the ball for better positioning instantly.
- Physical. Uses the sideline as an extra defender and doesn't give up routes easily to the receivers.
- Effective jammer and can disrupt much bigger WRs at the line of scrimmage.
- Above average run defender
- Height/Weight/Speed are concerns. He's average to below average in these areas. He is 5-foot-11, 197 pounds.
- Seems a bit uncomfortable in zone
- Physicality and style of play could lead to pass interference penalties at the next level.
- Unknown how he might perform in the slot.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Yes. He will have to adjust to playing more zone, as he's a pure man cover corner at this point, but I feel like we say that about all of our corners. He's a bit too physical and dominant for his own good sometimes, and I've seen him mug receivers and not get called. He'll need to hide that a bit better like the Seahawks secondary does. He can slot right in to the outside position opposite Prince and allow the Giants to play sides instead of having Prince shadow.
Darqueze Dennard vs. Iowa (2013) (via Mario Clavel)
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 10
Mocking The Draft - 22
CBS Sports - 11
Draft Countdown - 25
Draft Tek - 14
Dennard is the premier man cover corner in this year's draft. Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State might have the greater upside because of his athleticism, but Dennard has the fundamentals, aggressiveness, and intelligence to succeed for a long, long time. Some compare his play style to Darrelle Revis. I don't know that he'll be as great as him, but the style is similar. Using the field and the rules to your advantage. If he has five yards to press you, he'll press you for five and a half and the refs won't notice. He'll interfere with you in every way possible, but at the last second, he'll wrench his head back towards the ball so it won't be called. He's that kind of a player, and one that the Giants could definitely use.