Tag:JacQuizz Rodgers
Posted on: August 4, 2011 11:49 am
 

OSU WR/RS Rodgers allowed "limited" practice

Oregon State wideout and returner James Rodgers -- the older brother of former Beaver and current Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers -- has been granted clearance to practice in a "limited fashion" when camp opens Monday, according to head coach Mike Riley.

The 5-07, 188 pound James hasn't received the nation-wide attention that his brother did during their respective careers at Oregon State, but James has actually been the more statistically productive of the two. Like his brother (who was drafted in the fifth round, No. 145 overall), James was viewed as a potential later round pick due to his lack of preferred size, but is a legitimate playmaker who could surprise in the NFL. What the Rodgers brothers lack in stature, they certainly make up for in toughness and instincts. Jacquizz has already impressed Atlanta coaches and scouts during the preseason, according to Peter King of SportsIllustrated.com.

Unfortunately, James suffered a horrific knee injury against Arizona last season that ruined his chance at joining Jacquizz in the 2011 draft. James was granted a medical redshirt after tearing two ligaments -- reportedly including the ACL -- in his left knee. He underwent the first of two surgeries on October 28. The next one occurred in late February. Since, Rodgers has been ahead of schedule in his recovery, but Riley has understandably been hesitant to push his All-Pac-10 star too hard.
“We will have more information after another meeting with the physician and our trainer at some point next week,” Riley said.
James was voted to the First-Team all-conference squad after the 2009 season after breaking the school record with 91 receptions for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns. He also set the school record for the most all-purpose yards in one season by accumulating 2,328 yards as a receiver, punt returner, kick returner and runner during the 2009 season. He entered the 2010 season second in the country among active players with 5,077 career all-purpose yards. Due to the questions about his injury, however, Rodgers is currently only rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 54 receiver potentially available for the 2012 draft.

Rodgers is not expected to resume all of his past roles with the Beavers this season. As Bob Clark of The Register-Guard notes, Riley would rather use Rodgers at flanker rather than returner next season due in part to their plan to ease him back onto the field and because the Beavers like their depth at punt and kick returner.

The Beavers begin their season at home against Sacramento State on September 3.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 8:24 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Running Backs

Over the next two weeks I will be highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

With quarterbacks the focus yesterday , I'll move to the next highest profile prospect on the offensive side of the football with the running backs.

Before I break down a few backs that I believe are great (or in the case of one, troubling) fits with their respective NFL franchises, I did want to point out the statistical anamoly that was last year's running back class. There were 24 running backs selected in 2011 -- exactly double the number of runners who were drafted a year ago. The 12 true running backs selected in 2010 was the lowest total in modern league history.

Anyway, back to the point. Here are a few backs whose fit in their NFL schemes I believe could result in surprising success.

Players are listed alphabetically, not in the order in which I see their fit with their respective teams.

Good Fits:

Jamie Harper, Tennessee Titans: The Titans boasted one of the more exciting 1-2 punches in football just a few short years ago with Chris Johnson and LenDale White. White's penchant for trouble, however, led to his trade to Seattle and ultimately his falling completely out of the NFL. Harper, at 5-11 and 233 pounds, has a similar powerful build as White and might possess the softest hands of any back in this draft.

Roy Helu, Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan is well known for his ability to find late round diamonds in the rough at running back and in Helu, he may have scored yet another one. Helu is an upright runner who didn't always run with the toughness and physicality some teams would prefer. He does, however, possess the ability to stick his foot in the ground and get downhill quickly. With very good straight-line speed (4.40), he is an ideal fit in Shanahan's zone scheme.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers:
The 49ers obviously boast one of the league's best all-around backs in Frank Gore, so Hunter isn't about to win the starting job here. However, the 49ers best back-up to Gore is another powerful runner in Anthony Dixon. Hunter's agility, speed and hands out of the backfield make him a nice fit for the 49ers, especially considering the fact that the sooner they play rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the more likely they are going to need secure outlet receivers.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons: Rodgers is in a similar position behind Michael Turner in Atlanta as Hunter is behind Gore in San Francisco. The former OSU standout, however, is actually a very different back than Hunter, though the two are similarly sized. Rodgers is a good fit in Atlanta's drive-blocking, power-base rushing attack. Rodgers, all 5-6, 196 pounds of him, is a surprisingly powerful runner who will score his first NFL touchdown by burrowing his head into the chest of an unsuspecting defensive back rather than dancing around him. How do I know? I've watched him win First Team All Pac-10 honors all three years of his career at OSU. He'll prove a steal at the No. 145 pick.

Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins: It is a shame that Thomas' name is last alphabetically, as I believe he could have the most immediate impact of this year's rookie runners and therefore should be more prominently featured. The Miami Dolphins are thought likely to consider adding a significant free agent runner like DeAngelo Williams since they're likely to lose Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, but considering how much emphasis Tony Sparano places on running the football, Thomas could still impress as a rookie. Thomas runs a bit too upright for my taste, but has good vision, is surprisingly agile and possesses good acceleration for a back of his size (6-0, 230). Depending on what the Dolphins do in free agency, you could be looking at a potential Offensive Rookie of the Year in Thomas, who led the Big 12 in rushing yards his only two seasons in the conference. 

Questionable Fit:

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys drafted Murray to potentially fill-in or replace the big play potential lost whenever Felix Jones is sidelined. While they received better value in Murray in the third round than they did with Jones as the No. 22 overall pick of the  2008 first round, the team could be getting a similarly finesse back who relies on his speed and hands to make big plays, rather than demonstrate the instincts or toughness to be a consistent force. The Cowboys, of course, boast lots of talent in the backfield and won't have to lean on Murray to be a feature back. Murray has fantastic hands out of the backfield and in that way is a nice schematic fit, but in the physical NFC East division, his role could be just that and very little more.
Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Have questions? Call-in to live radio 6-8 pm ET

With the NFL draft now less than two weeks away, I'm spending less time on the blog and writing articles and more time doing interviews. Typically, these are of the 15-20 minute variety for national and local sports radio stations across the country.

However, for two hours this evening, I'll be hosting the first official "Rob Rang Show" on KJR AM Seattle and I encourage anyone who is interested in the NFL Draft to not only listen, but to call in with their questions.

As you can imagine with a Seattle show, much of the discussion from local callers will likely focus on the Seahawks and the local collegiate talent expected to be selected in the draft -- Washington quarterback Jake Locker, outside linebacker Mason Foster and Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones chief among them.

However, I don't want to get trapped into just talking about the local teams. I've either done or will be doing radio spots this weekend in Alabama, California, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Florida and Texas, as well as a spot on Sirius NFL radio. I hope that some of those listeners will call in and enliven the conversation to my show too.

We are scheduled from 6-8 pm Eastern Time (3-5 Pacific) and have two guests lined up -- Michigan offensive lineman Steve Schilling (a Seattle-area native and potential fit for the Seahawks) and Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers -- one of the more underrated runners in this year's draft.

Care to listen in -- or better yet -- chime in?

Come on over. It's free. It's easy. And we're talking football... for two hours.

Link to: Sports Radio 950 KJR AM
Click the "Listen Live Now" link.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

OT, RB depth underrated strengths of 2011 class

For most fans of the NFL draft, it is simply human nature to focus on the best players. These, of course, are the headliners that typically are drafted highest and thus, are expected to make the most immediate and lasting impact in the NFL.

Scouts, however, are very well aware of the fact that the big names will only constitute the first 32 or 64 picks of the 254 players selected this year.

As such, they're dedicating much of their attention to the lower rated prospects... and what they've been discovering is the unusual depth at offensive tackle and running back in this year's class.

By now, everyone knows the elite offensive tackles. Anthony Castonzo, Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod and Nate Solder are all expected to be first round picks . The depth behind the "fabulous five" is worth mentioning too.

Teams are quite high on the toughness and consistency of Alabama's James Carpenter and Miami's Orlando Franklin. With a little fine-tuning, TCU's Marcus Cannon, Indiana's James Brewer and Florida's Marcus Gilbert could surprise. Though level of competition questions abound, no one dominated their opponents as consistently as Villanova's Ben Ijalana throughout his respective career. There are a lot of teams very high on the long-term upside of lower level FBS prospects Derek Newton (Arkansas State), Jah Reid (Central Florida), Willie Smith (East Carolina), Byron Stingily (Louisville) and Byron Bell (New Mexico).

Running backs offer similar depth.

I highlighted three of the "sleeper" running backs that I really like in this video with CBS' Lauren Shehadi. Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones and Hawaii's Alex Green are only a few of the backs not getting a lot of media attention that I feel will ultimately surprise. I'm also particularly high on Clemson's Jamie Harper, Louisville's Bilal Powell and Miami's Graig Cooper, though NFLDraftScout.com currently rates all three as Day three picks or, in the case of Cooper, even a potentially undrafted player.

Last year we saw two undrafted free agents lead all rookie running backs in rushing yards. Tampa found their star in former Oregon Duck LaGarrette Blount and New Orleans found a true diamond in the rough in former Tiffin Dragon (and Washington State Cougar) Chris Ivory. The three running backs drafted in the first round -- CJ Spiller (Buffalo), Ryan Matthews (San Diego) and Jahvid Best (Detroit) were all relative disappointments as rookies.

Considering the underrated talent of this year's RB class, don't be surprised if a Day Three find winds up competing for the league's rookie rushing title again in 2011...
Posted on: March 11, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 7:12 pm
 

Jacquizz Rodgers cuts 40 time to 4.47 at Pro Day

Representatives from an estimated 25 NFL teams saw Oregon State junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers slice his time in the 40-yard dash from an electronically timed 4.74 at the Combine to 4.47, according to the university's offical website .

The vastly improved time in the 40-yard dash should help ease concerns about Rodgers' speed. While scouts knew the dimunitive (5-6, 196 pound) Rodgers was not a traditional speed back, teams would be hesistant to draft a short back lacking enough burst to run away from most defensive linemen. Like with Alabama's Mark Ingram, savvy scouts knew not to be too worried about Rodgers' timed speed, however.

Despite his Combine times, Rodgers' balance, vision and surprising power helped him generate All Pac-10 after each of his three seasons for the Beavers. His lateral agility and quick acceleration make him more elusive than his marginal speed might indicate.

Rodgers didn't just boost his stock with his speed. He also measured in taller today at Oregon State's Pro Day. In fact, according to the team's report, Rodgers was initially measured in at 5-07 Friday. A re-measure put him at 5066 or 5-6 and 3/4." Rodgers had been "officially" measured at 5057 (an eighth of an inch under 5-06") in Indianapolis.

Rodgers is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 11 rated running back and viewed as a potential mid-round pick.

Rodgers wasn't the only Beaver to boost his Combine performance Friday.

Center Alex Linnenkohl, rated No. 8 at the position by NFLDraftScout.com improved his bench repetitions of 225 pounds from 24 at the Combine to 31 today, according to Aaron Fentress of the Oregonian .

Oregon State's other highly touted prospect -- defensive tackle Stephen Paea -- remains unable to fully workout for scouts after it was discovered at the Senior Bowl that he'd torn the meniscus in his right knee. This injury kept him from performing in all but Monday's initial practice in Mobile and unable to do most of the workout at the Combine. Of course, the one drill that the two-time Morris Trophy winner was able to compete in was the bench press -- where he shattered the Combine record with a jaw-dropping 49 repetitions of 225 pounds. Sources close to Paea claim that the 49 reps was no surprise. He'd been shooting for 50.

Paea, according to the website's report, is expected to workout for scouts in Corvalis later this month.




Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:58 pm
 

LeShoure added to big class of underclassmen RBs

The University of Illinois' Mikel LeShoure announced today that he'll be joining Alabama's Mark Ingram, Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams, and Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, among many others as underclassmen running backs heading early to the NFL.

LeShoure is the 11th underclassmen running back to declare early so far. He'll compete with former Hokies' star Williams to be the second running back drafted after Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.

So far, the running backs who have declared early include: Wisconsin's John Clay, Virginia Tech's Darren Evans, Ingram, Clemson's Jamie Harper, Pitt fullbakc Henry Hynoski, LeShoure, Pitt's Dion Lewis, Rodgers, Connecticut's Jordan Todman, Cal's Shane Vereen and Williams.

The early defections are hardly a surprise. While scouts generally encourage prospects to return for their senior seasons, there is an understanding that for running backs the same rules don't apply due to the fact that they absorb so much punishment.

Scouts also aren't surprised by the early defections because this year's senior class of running backs is one of the weakest positional groups in the country. In speaking to scouts over the past few weeks, only a trio of Big 12 runners -- Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray, Kansas State's Daniel Thomas and Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter were characterized as "possible" Top 64 picks. None were viewed as "locks" for the first two rounds.

LeShoure is coming off a spectacular junior season in which he rushed for a school record 1,687 rushing yards and 17 TDs. He was at his best in Illinois' Texas Bowl victory over Baylor, rushing for a Texas Bowl record 187 yards and three touchdowns, earning MVP accolades. 

As always for the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com.
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:02 pm
 

James Rodgers granted med RS = Jacquizz staying?

Oregon State senior wideout James Rodgers was granted a medical redshirt for the 2010 season and will return to the Beavers next year , according to the school's official website.

Rodgers suffered a gruesome knee injury while being tackled in the endzone against Arizona October 2. Rodgers had caught a 56-yard touchdown pass - but an OSU penalty nullified the score.

Rodgers, the older brother of Beavers' junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers, has been a bit overshadowed by his sibling during their respective college careers, but is a legitimate NFL talent, in his own right.

Though certainly shorter than scouts would prefer (5-7), James' versatility and toughness as a receiver and returner make him a very similar prospect to former Hawaii and Texas standouts' Davone Bess and Quan Cosby -- two undrafted free agents who have carved out careers with the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals.

Despite the lack the height, scouts don't have to look hard to find either of the Rodgers brothers on tape. James already is Oregon State's career all-purpose leader with 5,784 yards, based largely on his record-breaking 2009 season. As a junior, Rodgers set OSU's single game (303 yards against Oregon) and single season (2,328) all-purpose yardage records records. Futhermore, he broke the Beavers' single season record for most receptions in 2009 with 91 grabs for 1,034 yards and nine scores earning First Team all conference honors.

James' return to the Beavers is likely to fuel speculation that Jacquizz will return for his senior season. It is hardly a secret in the scouting community that Rodgers - like most savvy and talented underclassmen technically draft eligible -- has explored his draft options, but the diminutive runner has adamantly denied reports that he's leaving early .


Posted on: December 16, 2010 7:10 pm
 

Ole Miss' Bolden among young RBs checking stock

The annual migration of junior and redshirt sophomore running backs to the NFL may begin with Mississippi's Brandon Bolden, who according to this report from Kyle Veazey of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, has requested a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.

Bolden flashed on tape last year as a complimentary option behind Dexter McCluster. This season Bolden emerged as the Rebels'best running back, rushing for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns for an offense that struggled with consistency. Despite his production, some will be surprised that Bolden is looking into his pro grade. He certainly hasn't generated the hype of a Mark Ingram or LaMichael James.

Just because Bolden requested his grade does not mean, of course, that he'll elect to leave school early. While the 5-11, 225 pound Bolden has a combination of agility, speed and power to translate well at the NFL level and has proven successful against top SEC competition, pro teams are going to be as hesitant as ever to invest high round picks in running backs when two undrafted free agents -- the Bucs' LeGarrette Blount and the Saints' Chris Ivory -- have been more impressive this season than any of the other rookie runners, including first rounders C.J. Spiller (Bills), Ryan Mathews (Chargers) and Jahvid Best (Lions).

This fact may cause NFL teams to push running backs down the board, but don't expect it to slow down the exodus of underclassmen runners. In fact, with a relatively weak class of seniors, some league insiders believe we could see several young running backs enter the 2011 draft.

Rumors are swirling around Ingram, Illinois' Mikel LeShoure, Cal's Shane Vereen, Oregon State's JacQuizz Rodgers, UCONN's Jordan Todman, and Clemson's Jamie Harper as junior backs who may make the jump. Even some lesser known junior runners like Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones are looking into their options.

Redshirt sophomore like James, Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams and Washington's Chris Polk are also expected to request grades.

The reason behind their moves is simple. Running backs absorb so much punishment that they're wise to begin earning money for their production as soon as possible.

As is always the case, any underclassmen considering making the jump to the pros should only do so after first consulting with the NFL Advisory Committee.

As always, remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com