Michigan State’s two-year streak of having a cornerback selected in the first round will surely come to an end next month, but Darqueze Dennard thinks one Spartans cover man could reach that level in the future.
Vayante Copeland, who opened the 2015 season as a starter before suffering a season-ending neck injury in the second game, has potential to be the next highly-drafted Michigan State cornerback, Dennard said Wednesday at Michigan State’s pro day.
“I’m a huge Vayante Copeland fan,” Dennard said. “I love his game.”
Dennard was a first-round pick, 24th overall, of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, and Trae Waynes went in the first round last year, 11th overall, to the Vikings.
Copeland redshirted in 2014 and missed most of his redshirt freshman year after the injury. In theory, he could jump to the NFL if he plays well as a redshirt sophomore, but he obviously still has a lot to prove.
The Spartans have a couple potential first-round picks this year with offensive tackle Jack Conklin and quarterback Connor Cook. Cornerback Arjen Colquhoun will be in the draft, too, but is likely a late-round pick or priority free agent.
Like Dennard and Waynes, Copeland wasn’t highly sought out of high school in Dayton, Ohio. Copeland was a three-star recruit, and the recent first-round picks were just two-star recruits.
“He’s got all the talent, long arms, (can) jump, got ball skills,” Dennard said. “He’s got everything that a coach would look for in a cornerback.”