#15 - Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard - should have plenty of years as a professional. He is not exceptional in any one category, but has no weaknesses. You want him on your team.
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 205 lbs
40 Yard Dash (Combine): 4.51
High School - Hometown: Wilcox County - Rochelle, GA
Birthday: September 9, 1989
Alfonzo Dennard was a two-year starter at cornerback at Nebraska, playing in 2010 alongside 2011 NFL Draft first-rounder Prince Amukamara. Nebraska finished the 2010 season first in pass efficiency defense. Dennard missed the first three games of 2011 with a leg injury, but played well enough to be named Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year. He is a physical corner with great all-around skills and should have plenty of years at the next level.
Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of The Year
First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches, Media, ESPN, Yahoo.com, Phil Steele)
Second-Team All-American (Phil Steele)
Third-Team All-American (Yahoo.com)
Nebraska Defensive MVP
Prince Amukamara Earned Them All Instead of Dennard
If there's one thing you need to know about Dennard's collegiate career is that he spent 2010 as a starter next to Prince Amukamara, the same guy named Amukamara that was a first-round NFL draft choice last season, going at #19 to the New York Giants. Bottom line - Dennard didn't get a lot of attention in 2010.
2011 started poorly, with Dennard missing three games due to a leg injury. He played well enough during the rest of the season to be named the winner of the inaugural Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year Award.
Dennard's best moments in 2011 came against Michigan State and Iowa. Dennard was key in ending Spartan receiver (and NFL draft prospect) B.J. Cunningham's streak of 41 games with a reception. Against Iowa, Dennard held Big Ten Receiver of The Year (and NFL draft prospect) Marvin McNutt to only four receptions on 29 yards when McNutt had been averaging around 100 yards per game.
In 2010, he had four interceptions, including one against Washington's Jake Locker (2011 #8 NFL Draft Pick - Tennessee Titans), and helped limit Locker to 79 yards on 4-of-20 passing. Nebraska's defense finished first in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Key Collegiate Play:
It's typical that most memorable plays involving by cornerbacks are when a team's star receiver burns them for a touchdown or long pass play. Dennard's most memorable play in his college career came against South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery in the Capital One Bowl when both he and Jeffery were ejected for fighting.
That's unfortunate, because Dennard's best moments in 2011 came against pretty decent competition, as related above in the career highlights section.
Why You Want Him On Your Team:
Dennard can cover well, having been a two-year starting cornerback in Nebraska's defense that relies heavily on man coverage. He's strong enough to take on physical receivers and can jam at the line, then turn and run well enough that he won't get beat deep. He played well in run support (a requirement at Nebraska) and can shed blocks well enough to make run-stopping plays when needed.
Stupidest comment I've seen on a NFL site about Dennard: " I think playing next to Prince made him look better last year....." - never mind that in the 2010 Oklahoma State game Dennard took over covering Justin Blackmon because Amukamara was struggling.
Why You May Not Want Him On Your Team:
He's shorter than the average NFL cornerback (two inches). His NFL Combine speed was just a hair slow for a cornerback, but there is the option of moving him to safety. In college he had a tendency to knock the ball down rather than making an interception.
You could argue that Dennard's durability is not where it should be. He missed the first three games of the 2011 season due to a leg injury that was reported to be a pulled muscle. It should be noted that Nebraska won the first three games by a combined score of 133-74. While Dennard was missed, there was little reason for Nebraska coaches to risk injury before the start of Nebraska's inaugural Big Ten season.
In 2010, he missed part of the Missouri game and all of the Iowa State game due to a concussion. He has had no serious injuries.
DENNARD'S RECENT ARREST FOR FELONY ASSAULT!
99% of sports fans outside the state of Nebraska could care less that Dennard was arrested and charged with felony assault just a few days before the draft.
Guys like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay may make a big deal of it (along with the Nebraska media), but the NFL only cares about these kinds of problems when they start to cost them money. In this case, Dennard is saving a smart General Manager cash by dropping a round.
BUT IT'S A FELONY!
Whoopty doo, it's a felony which only means he wasn't charged with a misdemeanor.
It's also a first offense, and Dennard's character before the recent incident was spotless (getting into a fight with Jefferey during the Capital One Bowl and being ejected is not actually a crime) which probably means it'll get bargained down to probation and some community service.
If it happens again, then there will be serious consequences (see "costing money" reference above).
Stupid, yeah, but not really that big a deal.