Tuesday was a busy day around the league with the start of free agency, but not everybody was back at team headquarters trying to strike deals. Several front-office staffers made it out to Michigan State's pro day, where the star attraction was undoubtedly highly regarded cornerback Darqueze Dennard.
That's significant, with most predicting that Pittsburgh will opt for a top defensive player in the first round after sinking to 24th in the league against the pass last season. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis has the team drafting Dennard at No. 15 in his latest mock draft.
Dennard (5-foot-11, 199 pounds) recorded a vertical of 36 inches and a broad jump of 11-foot, 2 inches at pro day. Both unofficial numbers provided by the school topped what Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert put up at the NFL Scouting Combine. NFL Media's Mike Mayock has Dennard and Gilbert rated Nos. 1 and 2 in his latest rankings at the position.
Dennard won the Jim Thorpe Award as college football's best defensive back last season and was a unanimous first-team All-American. He figures to be a busy man over the coming weeks as he meets with teams to answer questions about his durability and how he would fit in zone coverage schemes. It seems clear based on his tape and numbers, however, that he'll still have plenty of suitors come May.