Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bills face difficult decision with Da'Rick Rogers

It may puzzle some that there's even discussion on how an undrafted player who has clearly been out-performed by at least six receivers currently on the Buffalo Bills' roster is even in the conversation for a roster spot. The problem facing Buffalo's coaching staff and front office is that Da'Rick Rogers hardly fits the looks the part of any normal UDFA, and has the physical profile to become a very good NFL receiver.
Despite making the All-SEC second team as a sophomore, Rogers was dismissed for Tennessee due to repeated signs of immaturity and off-field issues (failed drug tests, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest). Rogers dominated the FCS in his lone season at Tennessee Tech, and also excelled at the NFL's Scouting Combine, as he was one of the top performers in several events (high jump, broad jump, 20 and 60-yard shuttles and 3-cone drill). In spite of his production and athletic profile, Rogers' baggage was enough to have him go undrafted. Shortly after the draft's conclusion, Rogers was signed by the Bills to compete for a roster spot. Along with a host of others, I believed that the physical talent Buffalo was able to acquire without spending a draft pick was worth the risk. To this point in training camp, he's failed to live up to his pre-camp hype, while players like Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley have given credence to the notion that Rogers' spot on the 53-man roster is hardly a guaranteed deal.
Buffalo will likely carry a maximum of six receivers entering this season, and four of them (Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin) are locks. If the Bills release Rogers prior to the season, the odds he clears waivers (which is necessary for Buffalo to sign him to their practice squad) are slim, as teams which are thin at receiver wouldn't hesitate to claim him.
Should the Bills keep Rogers on the roster, it'd largely be based on his untapped potential. The team has received some significant value out of keeping a developmental guy on the roster (All-Pro tackle Jason Peters was a tight end in college and hardly saw the field his rookie season while he developed), but could be passing up on someone who would contribute more to the team right away.
My gut feeling says that Rogers will make the team, and a more deserving player (based on production) like Easley, Hogan, Brandon Kaufman or even Brad Smith hits the unemployment line. Ultimately, for a team that's still rebuilding, gambling on Rogers is the right (if risky) choice.

1 comment:

  1. Well put. Some people dismiss him right away because of his past and the fact he isn't dominating at camp but there's no denying his potential. If he makes the team the question becomes how long the word "potential" can be used before it's "unproven".