Dennard was originally headed to Jacksonville to play for the Jaguars, but the two parties couldn’t come to a contract agreement. But now, he’s thankful to be coming home to his home state.
“One thing about me is I’m an even-keeled person,” Dennard told AJC. “For me, everything happened for a reason. I believe in the man above. I think God had to handle things accordingly. He didn’t see me fit in Jacksonville, so that’s why it didn’t happen. So it wasn’t me really fighting or worrying about it. It made me trust in the man above. He had a plan for me, and the plan was to come back home to Georgia to play with the Falcons, which I’m super-excited for. I’m grateful and humble for the opportunity. I’m thankful to be right here now.”
Dennard grew up 100 miles southeast of Atlanta in Dry Branch and was a high school standout at Twiggs County High. Now, his family and friends will be able to make it to games.
Dennard’s Seven-Year Career
Dennard was drafted by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
The former first-rounder has started 24 games in his career, all of them with the Bengals. He has recorded 3 interceptions, 22 pass deflections, and 3 sacks over the course of his career. In a total of 77 games, Dennard has had 274 combine tackles.
Pro Football Focus gave Dennard a solid grade of 72.2 last year after playing in just 9 games and 5 starts where he totaled 37 tackles and five passes defended.
Dennard is well known for his quality coverage and speed. Two things that every NFL team looks for in a cornerback.
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Dennard’s Role in Atlanta
Dennard’s versatility will fit in well in Atlanta, but head coach Dan Quinn is still unsure where they’ll use him primarily.
“He’s got experience both outside and inside so over the next two or three weeks we’ll feature him in both spaces,” Quinn said. “The fact that he’s played nickel, that’s been a big help for us, but he’s made his living playing outside. As we are going through it, I think we probably need a few weeks to make sure we got him in the right space and feature him. Certainly glad to have another good player on the team.”
Dennard confirmed he’ll play anywhere the Falcons need him to.
Dennard’s Veteran Leadership
Some people seem to be up in the air with this addition, but veteran leadership with such a young group of cornerbacks is beneficial.
“I think the best thing about the young talented guys we have is they make the whole group better,” Dennard said. “I was once that young, hungry rookie, second-year, third-year player along with the vets. The only thing that made it come together was that everybody competed. I’m here to help better the team, of course. The young guys help me as well as I’m helping them. It all goes hand in hand. I’m super excited to be with this group. I’m surrounded by talented guys.”
A quality cornerback secondary is necessary for the NFC South and the Falcons have checked that need off of the list with this addition.