By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Arm: 30 1/4
College Career: Four-year player at Michigan State who won the Jim Thorpe Award (nation’s top defensive back) as a senior. Full-time starter his last two seasons with the Spartans and took his game to different level in 2013 despite coming off double hernia surgery.
Strengths: Built well. Tough, physical, lock-down corner who thrives in press coverage. Uses hands well early. Good feet with adequate speed. Always stays with the receivers. Good at re-routing receivers and squeezing the sideline. Willing in run support. Can blitz effectively.
Weaknesses: Grabby. Lack of top-end speed forces him to keep hands on receivers after initial jam, which gets him in trouble. Too much unnecessary pass interference. Doesn’t possess ideal length. Tackling technique could use some work. Durability questions.
Bears Outlook: Dennard has a little Darrelle Revis in him, but the grabbiness is a concern. The question is, are those just bad habits or necessary techniques? If it’s the latter, Dennard could struggle to stay with bigger, faster receivers at the next level. However, if it’s something that can be coached out of him, he has the ceiling to be a No. 1 cornerback, even in the NFC North. If the Bears want him, they’ll have to take him in the first round.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.