Dennard Drafted by Cincinnati Bengals with Pick No. 24

The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday night contained many surprises. And when there are surprises, some players are bound to drop later in a round than expected.

Among those surprise players was former Michigan State cornerback, Darqueze Dennard.

Dennard was projected by some experts to be drafted as highly as No. 10 to the Lions, being the first cornerback selected off the board. However, the draft rarely goes as the experts plan, and this year was no different.

The Cleveland Browns traded the fourth overall pick to the Buffalo Bills for their ninth pick and first and fourth round picks in 2015. Then, they traded the ninth pick for the eighth pick with the Minnesota Vikings, where they selected Oklahoma State cornerback, Justin Gilbert.

The trades were a surprise, but Gilbert being selected over Dennard was not, as many scouts loved Gilbert’s speed, size and athleticism.

The next surprise came at pick No. 14, where the Chicago Bears selected Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller is a talented and experienced player, but few expected him to be selected over Dennard.

Some thought Dennard would go immediately after at No. 15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they decided to go a different route and drafted Ohio State outside linebacker, Ryan Shazier.

After Pittsburgh, no team had a pressing need to draft a cornerback until the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 24, and that is exactly where Dennard went.

Despite having one of the best passing defenses in the NFL last season, the Bengals needed some new blood at corner due to the age of their two starters.

Adam “Pacman” Jones is entering his ninth NFL season and Terence Newman is entering his 13th.  They also have fourth-year man Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama, but he has not been able to show the consistency needed to be a NFL corner.

With this rotation, Dennard will be able to learn from veteran corners while also competing for a starting role.

Along with that, the Bengals have made three straight playoff appearances, so he will be able to play for a legitimate contending organization.

Dan Tyler is the host of the Spartan Red Zone for Impact Sports.

Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports