One of the hottest names linked to the Lions in early mock drafts was Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.
His draft stock has cooled off considerably since then but that may actually increase the chances that he winds up with the Lions. The team has continually devalued the cornerback position and chosen to invent their resources elsewhere. Using that as our example, it would seem like taking a cornerback in the first round would represent a departure from the strategy the Lions have followed under the guidance of Martin Mayhew, Tom Lewand and Jim Schwartz.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Weight: 204 lbs
Arm Length: 30″
40-yard Dash: 4.55 sec
Vertical Jump: 37″
Broad Jump: 121″
NFL Mocks breaks down Dennard’s game into pros and cons:
PROS: Great experience as a starter…hard worker…very quick to read quarterback… ball-hawk… solid tackler…has lock-down potential…excels in press coverage…good bulk and build…good speed…makes a lot of plays on the football…also plays well in zone coverage…doesn’t shy away from tackles…fluid enough to play the slot at the NFL level
CONS: Injuries have been a slight concern for him (concussion in 2010), otherwise his biggest issue will be adjusting to the speed of the NFL…over aggressive at times making him vulnerable to double moves…a tick shorter than ideal..willing tackler does not mean great tackler
The thing that should jump out to Lions fans is that he is more of a man-coverage corner, which the Lions mostly ask of their cornerbacks, with the versatility to play some zone and cover outside and inside receivers. If there is one thing the Lions like on their defense it is versatility and Dennard brings that to the table. The Detroit Lions have shown interest by taking the time to sit down with Alfonzo Dennard at the Combine last month.
The general consensus among the various draft websites is the Dennard has slipped out of the first round but will come off the board in round two or three. With the Lions finally picking closer to the end of each round rather than the beginning, the second round would be their best bet to pick Dennard. If he’s still sitting on the board when the Lions’ third-round pick comes up, the value would be too much for them to pass over if they hadn’t already addressed the cornerback position earlier.