Dennard had been projected as high as a second-round pick before getting arrested for allegedly punching a police officer in Lincoln five days before the start of last week's NFL draft. Dennard faces a third-degree felony assault charge.
Dennard will be out to prove doubters wrong when he hits the practice field for the Patriots, Amukamara said Tuesday.
"Alfonzo is a very cheerful guy, and he likes to make the best out of situations," Amukamara said. "He has the hungry mentality that he's going to go in and work hard and just put everything in the Patriots' hands."
Amukamara and Dennard started 22 games together in 2009-10 and combined for nine interceptions and 39 pass breakups. The 2010 Cornhuskers ranked third nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Dennard's fall to the seventh round after his arrest prompted Amukamara to send him a text a few days ago.
"I just told him I know this isn't where you want to get picked, but you know what you can do and we know what you can do, so just prove (doubters) wrong," Amukamara said.
Dennard's arrest outside a Lincoln bar surprised Amukamara because it was out of character.
"I didn't think it was a true story," Amukamara said. "I got a lot of calls and texts. The only way I was going to know if it was true was if I saw it on Google. I googled it and it came up, and I just couldn't believe it. I know he has good people around him, so he should be handling it pretty well."
Amukamara is recovering from the broken bone in his left foot stained in the second practice of training camp last year. He said he had a procedure last month to speed the healing. The injury limited him to seven games as a rookie.
"I was already (behind) with the lockout, so the adversity kept building and building," he said. "I didn't get to play until November, and when I got my first pick, that gave me a little bit of assurance that this is where I belong."
"Competition is great," he said. "I trust our GM who made the picks, and I saw him play. That guy is a playmaker and we do need playmakers on our team."
"Eli has already set the tone," Amukamara said, "and just been telling everybody that last year is last year and this year is a new year, and everybody is going to be gunning for us and just be prepared."