Darqueze Dennard has studied NFL cornerbacks, trying to borrow some of their techniques to improve his game. One in particular stood out as a kindred spirit in pass coverage.
He admires three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who signed with New England in the offseason. They have similar builds and are known for tight man-to-man coverage.
Dennard gets to show what he's learned with the Cincinnati Bengals, who took the former Michigan State standout 24th overall in the first round. Dennard won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.
Dennard arrived in Cincinnati and met with the media on Saturday. He also got his jersey with No. 21.
One of his NFL favorites wears No. 24 and is known for being a shut-down cornerback. Asked who he tries to emulate, Dennard said, "I'd probably say Darrelle Revis.
"We have the same body type. He's a press corner, and that's what I did in college. He's very (good) with his technique, and he comes up with tackles as well."
The Bengals wanted to add an up-and-coming player to the oldest position in their team. Leon Hall is recovering from his second Achilles tendon rupture in three years. Terence Newman and Adam "Pacman" Jones are in their 30s. Dre Kirkpatrick, a first-round pick two years ago, has been hurt and inconsistent.
Unless the veterans get hurt, Dennard will get time to learn and grow into a spot. The Bengals liken him to Hall, another first-round pick who is known for solid man-to-man coverage.
"I started the last three years playing one-on-one coverages the entire game against good receivers, and the only thing it does is it makes you better," Dennard said. "I'm ready for the next journey I've got coming, which is the NFL."
The Bengals' defense finished third overall last season, but they failed again to win in the playoffs. They've lost in the first round three consecutive seasons and haven't won a postseason game since 1990, tied for the sixth-longest streak of playoff futility in NFL history.
Dennard got indoctrinated into that part of franchise history as soon as he was selected. Jones got in touch with him to welcome him to the team and let him know the stakes.
"Adam 'Pacman' Jones reached out and told me, 'Welcome to our organization. You've got some work to do to chase this Super Bowl,'" he said.
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