Contrary to popular belief, the Patriots had a good cornerback group in 2013. Ever since the 2010 season, the Pats pass defense has been one of the worst in the league. It wasn’t a coaching issue, but really just a matter of missing on solid talent. Whether it was through the draft, or free agency, Bill Belichick and company never put any talent in the defensive backfield.
But as Bob Dylan once said, “The Times They Are A-Changin”. The combination of Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan, and Kyle Arrington was a good group last season, as when they were healthy, opposing offenses found it incredibly tough to throw on the Patriots. Talib can take just about anybody out of the game, Arrington is a good slot defender, I think Ryan is slowly rising towards stardom in this league, and despite his size (and a horrible AFC Championship game), Dennard is a great number two corner.
Now if Talib is brought back, why would the Patriots want to go out and get a guy like Darqueze Dennard? All you have to do, is take a look at the Seattle Seahawks. They won the Super Bowl by building a ridiculously good back end. Most of the defenses that are regarded as the best of all time are built with a good front seven, but Seattle bucked the system, and started from the back. The result? A Super Bowl championship. I’m not saying that the addition of Dennard would instantly make the Pats’ secondary the best in football, but it would be close. Dennard is easily the best cornerback in the draft, and based one what many draft experts have said, he has the potential to be really good at the NFL level. His ball skills and man coverage are off the charts, and like his cousin Alfonzo, he makes up for his small stature with an aggressive playing style, and sound technique.
However if the Pats wanted to go in this direction, the process of drafting Dennard wouldn’t be easy. Dennard is going in the top 15 in most mock drafts around the country, which is obviously way out of the Patriots’ range. But it would be possible to trade up for him. According to the ‘NFL Draft Value Chart’ on walterfootball.com, it would cost the Pats about 410 points to move up to the 15th spot in the draft. This means that New England would have to give up their second and third round draft picks, to get a chance at drafting Dennard.
Giving up your second and third round draft picks is pretty risky, especially with the depth in this year’s draft. But the talent of Dennard is pretty special, which makes this situation worth thinking about.