|A cornerback who had zero interceptions as a senior and wasn't among 15 semifinalists for the Thorpe Award - given to the nation's premier defensive back - wouldn't seem to be a top target come draft day. Instead, it appears Dennard could go in the first round. A very physical defender known for terrific press coverage and good hands, Dennard has a huge upside and offenses often shied away from throwing in his direction during 2011 even though he was hampered by injury. A muscle strain in his right leg forced Dennard to miss the season's first three games - a likely reason he was left off the Thorpe list - and he never fully recovered, but he still shut down the Big Ten's top two wideouts. He held Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham without a catch for the first time in 41 games and limited Iowa's Marvin McNutt to two receptions for 1 yard through three quarters before giving way to a backup. However, what happened after the regular season could scare some teams and drop the all-Big Ten selection to the second round. After being burned for 148 yards - though 51 were on a Hail Mary - by South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery in Nebraska's Capital One Bowl loss, Dennard got into a fight with the Gamecocks' star receiver and was ejected. Things got worse at the Senior Bowl, where he had a poor week of practice and eventually pulled out of the game with a hip injury. Dennard didn't really impress at the combine, placing 15th among corners in the 40-yard dash at 4.55 seconds.