49ers Sign Former First-Round Pick After Controversial Giants Exit

49ers Darqueze Dennard giants

GETTY SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 06: A San Francisco 49ers helmet sits on the field at Levi's Stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers are in need of corner help and they may have found reinforcements in the form of Darqueze Dennard.

With safety Jimmie Ward and corner Dontae Johnson hitting the COVID-19 list and Josh Norman getting benched against the Houston Texans last Sunday, it was expected that the Niners would bring in someone to bolster the ranks.

On Tuesday, San Francisco announced that Dennard will be joining the practice squad in Santa Clara.

Coming out of Michigan State as a highly-touted corner prospect, Dennard was taken as the 24th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. The former Spartan spent six seasons with the Bengals and started 24 games. In 2020, Dennard played for the Atlanta Falcons, starting six games, as PFR shows.

Dennard has had a tough go of it this year, first being signed and released by the Arizona Cardinals and then the Indianapolis Colts. As Heavy recently covered, he was then picked up by the New York Giants on December 22, played 17 snaps on special teams in Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles and was then released on December 28.

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Dennard Called Out for Giants Play

Make sure you understand the rules before you criticize a player. That didn’t happen in a viral tweet recently that criticized Dennard for one of his plays for the Giants in Week 16.

As the tweet shows above, Dennard seemingly stops playing on a ball that could’ve been downed at the one-yard line. Several people in the Giants universe tweeted about the play, including @BobbySkinner_ above. Clearly, he initially wasn’t pleased with what he was seeing.

But fair play to him, because he then replied upon realizing that Dennard was actually making a heads-up decision not to pursue the ball due to a penalty.

“He was out of bounds and it was illegal for him to touch the football,” the user updated in a reply.

The moment was still misunderstood by fans, who replied to the Giants’ retweet about releasing Dennard with jokes and criticism days after the moment happened. So while one fanbase may not be impressed by his effort, there shouldn’t be any actual concern for 49ers fans when they realize that he was making the right decision.

What Dennard Means for the 49ers

So, what are Dennard’s chances to play in the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams? It all depends on Dontae Johnson.

If he recovers as fast as possible, Dennard will likely remain on the practice squad and Johnson will play. If he has problems with COVID-19, then Dennard will likely be playing from the bench against the Rams.

In that scenario, expect corners Josh Norman and Ambry Thomas to start with Dennard coming in as needed. The Niners won’t want to rely on a new addition to heavily, and the former Bengal will be insurance rather than a corner that will play a lot of snaps.

The best-case scenario for the 49ers is that Johnson is able to play. In a game that will determine the 49ers’ playoff hopes, they’ll want someone out there they know well. After all, Dennard has just four picks in his career.