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Thursday, May 8, 2014
Bengals pick Darqueze Dennard in 1st

By Coley Harvey

CINCINNATI -- The pick: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State.

My take: This was the smart and safe pick for the Bengals to make once the run on defensive backs began several picks earlier. The Bengals are getting a cornerback who plays physically and has the size that could be used in the long term alongside Dre Kirkpatrick as the Bengals try to shore up their depth at corner behind aging veterans Leon Hall, Adam Jones and Terence Newman. Dennard had been regarded at one point as the top corner in the draft. At worst, most rated him second or third at the position. When Kyle Fuller was selected at No. 14 by the Bears, it made sense for the Bengals to make the move for Dennard.

Looking for a leader: One of the traits Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he was looking for in his first-round selection was leadership. He said he wanted to make sure his staff was bringing in players whose off-field characteristics fit in well with the rest of the locker room. While at Michigan State, Dennard started three seasons and was named the Thorpe Award winner for 2013 as the nation's best defensive back. He was the first Spartans player to win that award.

What's next? The Bengals will look for ways to add to their offensive and defensive lines. The Bengals have made it clear they want to run more often and play more physically on offense. Added bodies up front can help that. There also are needs at outside linebacker and backup quarterback. Expect the Bengals to consider drafting a quarterback in the third round. The Bengals have two picks total in the second and third rounds that occur Friday.