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Comparing Potential New York Giants Draft Targets: Darqueze Dennard Vs. Justin Gilbert

January 6th, 2014 at 4:00 PM
By axr29

As we head into the offseason of what was a disappointing 2013-2014 season for the New York Giants, there is some work to do. The Giants will be looking to fill several holes in this May's NFL Draft and one of those holes is at cornerback, where they are in need of another top flight cornerback.

Terrell Thomas, Truman McBride and Jayron Hosley provide solid depth, but with Corey Webster likely moving on, the Giants will be for a cornerback to play opposite Prince Amukamara. There should be a few cornerback options available at the No. 12 pick, and here will be compare the top two options: Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State and Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State.

Coverage Skills:

Gilbert and Dennard come from two drastically different schemes but both excel in man coverage. At Michigan State, cornerbacks were left one on one with wide receivers on the outside with no safety help at all over the top. Given how he had to play in college, Dennard is probably the more likely of the two to develop into a true shutdown corner. Gilbert has experience playing in both man and zone coverage, and faced better receivers this year than Dennard did. Gilbert played on outstanding game in the Cotton Bowl, where Missouri's three top wide receivers all measured over 6'5". Gilbert did a great job on Dorial Green-Beckham, one of the elite wide receivers in college this year, while spending most of the night on an island. Where Gilbert has an advantage over Dennard is that Dennard does not have the elite speed that Gilbert has, so Dennard will have trouble recovering if he does get beat by a faster receiver. Overall, Dennard's skills are more polished, and has a slight advantage in this area.

Edge: Dennard

Run Support:

Both players are also excellent in run support, and Dennard did a great job against Stanford in the Rose Bowl. He seemed to be in the middle of every running play, which was a good sign for NFL scouts. Gilbert's bigger frame will probably help him adjust better to NFL running games, until at least Dennard puts on some more weight. Both players shed their blocks well and know how to wrap up and finish a tackle. Dennard and Gilbert seem to be pretty equal in run support.

Edge: Push

Ball Skills:

Dennard had limited opportunities to make interceptions, as quarterbacks did their best to avoid him in his great career at Michigan State. Dennard has an exceptional feel for knowing when to turn and make a play on the ball. However, he doesn't have the elite athleticism to make the tough interceptions or the strength at the moment to win most one on one balls at the NFL level. Much like Dennard, Gilbert also has a great feel for turning and making a play on the ball. Where Gilbert has the edge on Dennard is that his elite athleticism and strength for a corner will help him in one on one jump ball situations. His hands wouldn't be considered elite, but his top end speed will help turn his interceptions into big plays and possible scores.

Edge: Gilbert


Both players posses great instincts, but Dennard has a clear edge in this area. Gilbert is great at anticipating plays, however he gambles a lot and that can get taken advantage of on double moves at the next level. Dennard rarely finds himself out of position and doesn't fall victim to the double move.

Edge: Dennard


Dennard had issues with injuries at Michigan State (shoulder in 2012, concussion and ankle in 2011, knee surgery in 2010), which is always a concern. Gilbert stayed healthy his whole career, never missing a game. Gilbert's height and weight is ideal for the NFL (6', 200 pounds) and has longer than average arms for the position. His elite speed gives him the edge here, as he will end up clocking in the high 4.4 to low 4.5 range.

Edge: Gilbert


The New York Giants really can't go wrong picking either guy. Gilbert probably fits Fewell's system better, as Dennard has played little to no zone coverage in his career. There is a chance Dennard could end up like Revis did in Tampa Bay, but if the Deoin Sanders comparison is correct it would be worth Fewell adjusting the system. Gilbert's playmaking ability in the a secondary with Antrell Rolle and Will Hill could make the secondary extremely dangerous. At the moment, there really is no right or wrong choice between the two, so we will see how they perform at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.

The Pick: Inconclusive

photo credit: mattradickal via photopin cc


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Tags: Corey Webster, Darqueze Dennard, Football, Jayron Hosley, Justin Gilbert, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas

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32 Responses to “Comparing Potential New York Giants Draft Targets: Darqueze Dennard Vs. Justin Gilbert”

  1.  BadBadLeroyBrown says:

    Darqueze Dennard hands down IMO

    You got to love a guy that told teams he was going to shut them down and actually go out and do it.

    “NO FLY ZONE” meets “Prince Island”

    That’d be a good combo for years to come

    •  BadBadLeroyBrown says:

      DD is my persooal favorite to be selected w/the #1 pick by the G-men in 2014. Unless of course their is a run on QB’s ahead of us and a stud like Sammy Watkins falls.

  2.  kujo says:

    Yeah, Dennard is the sh*t.

  3.  kujo says:

    I think Dennard is the better of the two, but I gotta question both his AND Gilbert’s size. Are we really going to roll with two sub-6′ corners? Prince’s main drawback is that he often struggles with larger receivers. Dennard, while very good, seems very Prince-esque….in fact, he’s smaller!

  4.  Nosh.0 says:

    Unless they have the potential to be true shutdown corners (only about 5 or so actually exist currently in the NFL) then I’d much prefer a Tackle. To me a potential franchise LT is more valuable to this team then another 1A corner. Just my 2 cents.

    •  kujo says:

      Seemed like they are pretty intent on keeping Beatty at LT and beefing Pugh up a bit to get him prepared to move inside. So any tackle we take would likely be a right tackle, and I don’t think you take a RT that high.

      •  Nosh.0 says:

        Not saying you’re wrong, but I don’t believe they are intent on keeping Beatty at LT. I think moving him right is a possibility they at least keep open.

    •  buljos says:

      Yeah… I’m with ya on this, because I think the O-line needs 2 top shelf upgrades for 2014, and high cap hit FAs aren’t the answer. Nor are mid round potential or projects… I think Mosley, Brewer, Cordle, etc. are enough of those to fill out the depth chart. Given his boss’ comments about draft performance, I think JR could do worse than getting both of them on day 1 of the draft. While Giant draft picks usually don’t focus on immediate production return that season, I’m thinking the expectations for 2014 are different. So using his #12 on a Corner better prove to be a substantial improvement over Trumaine McBride to warrant going away from an O-lineman. I’m not saying McBride ought to be starting opposite Prince, or that his production won’t fall off in 2014. What’s I’m asserting is McBride was targeted 73 times allowing 32 receptions for 369 yards and 2 TDs, snagging 2 INTs, with an opposing QB rating of 57.4. By comparison, Prince was targeted 94 times, allowing 64 receptions for 651 yards and 2 TDs, with 1 INT and a QB rating of 87.7. Not great, but certainly not broken. PFF graded both positively. So? What story could JR tell Mr. Mara going into day 1 of the draft about Dennard’s or Gilbert’s anticipated performance over McBride’s in the upcoming season that would justify the opportunity cost of not grabbing a Greg Robinson, Cameron Erving, or Taylor Lewan? Then with the 43rd if La’el Collins and Cyril Richardson are there, same consideration of value opportunity cost. Highly unlikely JR will do this, so my argument’s certainly flawed. But one might consider JR could have much worse draft conversations with Mr. Mara than delivering 2 starting caliber O-linemen on day 1 who (if Pugh’s any indication), hit the 2014 cap for less than half, combined, of what a single top FA O-lineman would demand (if Baas’ 2014 cap is any indication). Sure, how to mix and match all that talent is an issue… but that’s one of those good problems to have… and the problem isn’t adding $8M APY against the CAP.

  5.  Nosh.0 says:

    As for Cyrus Alabama, from everything I read the kid is not a finished product. Still pretty raw. But people seem to think that he has the body to be an all pro at the position eventually.

    Obviously the Giants have gotten themselves into trouble recently drafting raw talent with upside, but, it seems to have worked out better for them in the first round than later.

    There definitely needs to be more scrutiny on drafting raw players, but I don’t think you can draft scared either. So although Cyrus played poorly in his bowl game and needs further development, that shouldn’t necessarily scare us away. I also like the fact that the kid is just 20 years old.

  6.  jfunk says:

    I don’t know enough about Sullivan to know whether or not he’ll be any good, but I don’t inherently have a problem with him just because he came up under Coughlin/Gilbride.

    This meme that the Coughlin/Gilbride offense is somehow “outdated” is nonsense. It carried a team with a lot of problems all the way to the Superbowl in 2011. The philosophy didn’t suddenly become outdated.

    The problem with the offense was Gilbride’s implementation of it. If Sullivan can run the same basic offense, but do it BETTER than Gilbride by mixing in more static route trees for the young and/or stupid and be more flexible and creative in his playcalling and gameplanning, then he can do well.

    Also, if Mara actually agrees that this guy is going to bring “more of the same”, then I don’t think it will happen. He was prepared to go to war with Coughlin over Gilbride, I seriously doubt he will settle for a replacement he doesn’t approve of now.

    I’m not predicting success for Sullivan. Like I said, I don’t know enough about him and didn’t watch enough Bucs football closely to get any idea of how he is as a play caller and planner. But I think it’s silly to dismiss him as a possible good hire just because he was brought up in Coughlin’s scheme.

    •  kujo says:

      This should be required reading!

      “Gilbride’s offense is outdated.”
      “Gilbride’s offense is too complex.”


      The problems was and has always been the boneheaded situational playcalling and the rigidity when it comes to incorporating younger plays and different skillsets (see: decision making). If Sullivan is somehow predisposed to these same pitfalls as a result of having worked in close geographic proximity to Gilbride, and having thus contracted Crapatitis F, fine. Otherwise, this is just another tired meme.

      •  Krow says:

        And a lack of talent. Let’s be honest. It’s not like we have a star-studded group on offense that was undercut by bad play calling. For sure the play calling sucked. But fixing that doesn’t fix everything. Not by a long shot.

  7.  kujo says:

    Again, there is no evidence to support that Beatty would be any better at RT than he is at LT. In fact, the only evidence we have seems to suggest otherwise:

    Beatty’s strength (pre-2013 season): Agile, nimble feet that he used to move speed rushers out of the play.

    Beatty’s weakness (pre-2013 season): Not overly strong, leaving him susceptible to bull-rushes, as well as making his run-blocking just a notch above average.

    Now, this sounds like the attributes of a good, solid LT (pause for Krow to make yet another “top 4 LOT” joke); however, moving him to the right–a position traditionally associated with overall strength, particularly in the running game, would accentuate Beatty’s weaknesses while doing nothing to make use of his strengths. True, he lined up at RT as a rookie when pressed into duty, but is a position change, particularly one that doesn’t seem logically related to his strengths and weaknesses, really make all that much sense at this point in his career?

    The answer is no.

    •  Krow says:

      This is 100% correct about Beatty. But I still don’t understand why we don’t simply draft an OG or a C and leave Pugh at ROT. Typically speaking it’s easier to get interior lineman.

      •  kujo says:

        Yeah, I could get behind that if we didn’t have needs at running back, tight end, linebacker and wide receiver, all areas ripe for the picking in the 2nd-5th rounds in most drafts.

        The best route, in my mind, is to acquire a guard and another tackle. Draft one, sign one. Heck, draft a center–not a guard you think can play inside….a CENTER– too while you’re at it.

  8.  kujo says:

    With their 4th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select Storm Johnson, runningback, Central Florida:

  9.  kujo says:

    Kelvin Benjamin please.

    Dude is a straight up baller.

  10.  BleedingBlueSince04 says:

    Who is that tall wr from Florida state ? Would love to get him . What round you think he goes ?

    •  kujo says:

      See above.

      Kelvin Benjamin.

      Can’t see how he doesn’t go in the 1st round with that size and speed.

      •  BleedingBlueSince04 says:

        It would be great if we somehow got him in the 3rd round

        •  BigBlueGiant says:

          Lol. He’s a 1st rd for sure

          •  GOAT56 says:

            At worse second round if he runs a poor 40. Keanan Allen though might make people think twice about dropping a big WR with a poor 40.

            As much as I like him just can see him at #12 unless he runs a 4.4 at that size.

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