The drought for Michigan State in the first round of the NFL Draft is over.
Cornerback Darqueze Dennard was picked No. 24 by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night, marking the time a Spartan went in the first round of the NFL Draft since Charles Rogers went No. 2 in the 2003 draft to the Lions.
"The first thing the Cincinnati organization can expect from Darqueze Dennard is a very professional attitude in his general lifestyle and preparation," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "Darqueze has tremendous ball skills and he's extremely quick. … He's a great tackler. During his college career, Darqueze played every position in the secondary: star, safety, boundary corner and field corner.
"He has ‘it.' Darqueze possesses all of those intangibles that allow him to gain ground and constantly improve as a player. He's an extremely humble young man, and he's going to be an asset in the Greater Cincinnati community."
Dennard was a consensus All-American in his senior season and won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.
He is Mark Dantonio's first first-round pick and the first MSU defensive back to go in the first round since Herb Adderley went to the Packers in 1961.
Dennard was the third cornerback picked in the draft. Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert the first cornerback selected, going No. 8 overall to the Cleveland Browns, and the Chicago Bears selected Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller with the No. 14 pick.
He is the 34th first-round pick in Michigan State history and the first defensive player since linebacker Julian Peterson in 2000.