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Round 7, Pick 224: Patriots Draft Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard

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Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska participates in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Defensive back Alfonzo Dennard of Nebraska participates in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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With the 224th pick in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Alfonzo Dennard, the cornerback out of Nebraska.

At 5'10" and 204 lbs, Dennard was considered one of the top prospects at the cornerback position in the weeks and months leading up to the draft. However, Dennard was arrested for assaulting a police officer a week ago, and saw his stock plummet. Originally seen as a first or second round talent, Dennard had an average final season at Nebraska, before his recent off the field issues.

He's got excellent size and can excel in press man coverage. He's got good instincts, average ball skills, and despite only average athleticism (4.55) is fluid enough to mirror receivers off the line. He lacks length at the cornerback position, and of course, there are the off the field issues to consider.

Nonetheless, in the seventh round, this is a real low-risk, high-reward selection. If he can get his legal issues behind him, Dennard will offer the Patriots starting-caliber talent who can contribute immediately. Getting that kind of potential in the seventh round, even with the character risks, is something that has to excite Patriots fans.

Greg's Grade: A-