- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The AFC East blog continues its "Show and prove" series for the division in 2013.
2012 stats: 35 tackles, three INTs
What he must prove: Dennard has to prove that the strong finish to his rookie season wasn’t a fluke. Dennard took over the starting cornerback job about midway into the 2012 season and never let up. The rookie fit in well with the Patriots and was tied for third on the team with three interceptions. Dennard also had some legal issues that were recently resolved. The Patriots are counting on Dennard to be focused in Year 2 and not have a sophomore slump.
Walker's 2013 outlook: I liked what I saw from Dennard last season. He was aggressive, fearless and appeared to get better as his rookie season went on. Dennard was a top-100 talent in last year’s draft who fell to the seventh round due to his pending legal issues. But the Patriots got a bargain by drafting Dennard, who should be a starter this season. He made some expected rookie mistakes last year. But I expect New England’s secondary to be better with Aqib Talib returning for a full season and Dennard having a year of experience under his belt. If both corners play well, New England’s defense could dramatically improve in 2013.