Pre-NFL Draft Dynasty WR Rankings Countdown—No. 4
Bill Byrne, Featured Analyst, Rosterwatch.com
4. Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech 6’2 2 ½”, 217 pounds, 4.52 –
Da’Rick Rogers has the perfect size and strength to be a great NFL wide receiver.
Some see him as having the best all around skill-set at his position in the entire draft. While I’m not sure I agree with that opinion, it is saying a lot considering that this is one of the deeper, more talented draft classes I’ve seen at the wide receiver position.
Rogers is not a speedster despite a better than average Combine 40 time of 4.52. He is able to out-muscle defenders at the line, then shift into his second gear to go up and grab the football with no fear of any defender bearing down on him. He has the strength to dominate in any situation on the field, and also has the athletic ability to adjust to the ball. He is an extremely fluid athlete who can run routes and make moves of a much smaller receiver.
Rogers ran an extensive route tree at Knoxsville, so he should not have much of an adjustment to running routes in the NFL. Much like Hines Ward, Rogers has a linebacker mentality in a wide receiver’s body. He relishes contact whether he is running with the football or throwing a downfield block.
Defensive backs can just about forget about trying to get a contested ball away from Rogers. He’s not a natural hands catcher, but with the ball in his hands he’s tremendous after the catch. Rogers led the SEC in receptions in 2011 and would easily have been a top 20 pick in the upcoming draft if it were not for his huge red flags – his love for “MaryJane” being only one of them. His interviews at the Combine will need to have been great, because he had much to explain.
Rogers got booted off Tennessee’s football team prior to the start of the 2012 season officially because of “multiple violations of the school‘s substance abuse policy for athletes“. “Multiple violations” mean he apparently used it openly and often. This was not his only issue.
Off the field, he was a consistent headache for the Tennessee coaching staff, a total pain-in-the-ass prima-donna.
He was suspended several times for incidents with his coaches – one was described as a “complete meltdown”. On the positive side, Da’Rick Rodgers had no problems since transferring to Tennessee Tech and playing under Coach Watson Brown: “He’s been perfect off the field,” Brown said. “He’s gone to class. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do, and it’s been fantastic. We’ve not had one issue with Da’Rick whatsoever.”
Much like Cordarrelle Patterson, Da’Rick Rodgers has the genetics of all of the great wide receivers and has what coaches cannot teach: strength, speed, fluidity, and the instinct and natural ability to dominate. With more maturity, he could become far more than just a solid NFL starter, but it may require the right coach to keep him in check. The current NFL players he most reminds me of – both on and off the field – are Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams and Dallas’ Dez Bryant.