The New England Patriots have selected Corner Back Alfonzo Dennard out of Nebraska with the 224’th overall pick in the NFL draft. Dennard is an absolute STEAL during the seventh round, especially when he was projected as a potential first rounder. Considered one of the better CB’s in the Draft, off field issues landed him in trouble with the police. Couple this with some injuries during his final season at Nebraska, and many NFL teams were wary of signing him. A bit undersized for a corner, he shows fantastic athletic ability and has a keen awareness for locating the ball when its in the air.
This marks the SIXTH defensive player picked for the Patriots in this years NFL draft. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick recognized a severe lack of coverage against some of the leagues better QB’s and has made every effort to address this issue for the 2012 season. It will be exciting to see what Dennard can do in his rookie season.
Here is the ESPN Scouting Report for Alfonzo Dennard.
Good instincts in man-coverage. Deciphers routes early. Shows consistent focus. Reads receiver and quickly reacts to any kind of break but may react better than anticipates. Has flashed a tendency to bite on double cut but not a consistent problem seen on tape. Confident in his ability and has necessary selective amnesia.
Cover Skills –
“Quick-twitch athlete with very good balance and body control. Changes directions quickly and can shadow receiver’s initial stem. Lacks ideal height but is thick and physical in coverage. Above average press-technique (does a nice job of using inside hand against outside release, and vice-versa) and can re-route bigger receivers. Closes quickly when coming forward and consistently cuts off the slant. Shows adequate fluidity in hips and can turn and run without losing anything in transition. Top-end speed on tape is concerning, though. Lacks burst to recover from mistakes. Clutches and grabs too much when running with WRs on vertical routes. Will likely need to be protected vertically and best position in NFL might be as No. 3 slot cover corner.”
Ball Skills –
Ball skills are below average. Flashes ability to make a play on 50-50 ball but leaves too many INTs on the field. Looks to bat some balls away that he should attack with both hands. Drops passes that should be INTs. Will be late locating the ball over his shoulder on occasion. Does not appear to have great leaping ability and will mistime some jumps.
Run Support –
“Flashed strong punch and does not back down from bigger receivers. Does a great job of making sure he maintains outside contain. But he is more physical in coverage than he is in run support, he takes too long to get off blocks, and he is a subpar tackler. Does too much reaching and hoping, and not enough squaring up and wrapping up. ”