NFL Draft: Bills sign WR Rogers
Da'Rick Rogers is a first-round talent. He went undrafted because the risk runs deep given his past transgressions, including multiple failed drug tests at Tennessee and an arrest following a bar brawl in Knoxville. Rogers landed with the Bills, a team with a history of getting the most of late-draft finds.
Da'Rick Rogers was the 12th-ranked wide receiver and No. 95 player in the draft. That was based on his talent and potential, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
But 254 picks, the entire expanse of the 2013 draft, were made without Rogers being selected. It was a kick in the chin for Rogers, 21, who is still paying for missteps that raised character red flags.
In August, Rogers was the 47th-ranked prospect potentially available for the '13 draft. He plummeted when Tennessee kicked him out of the program before the start of the season for repeated failed drug tests. Rogers was forthright at the Scouting Combine about marijuana use and the Knoxville bar fight that led to his arrest. His time at Tennessee Tech -- one season, 10 touchdowns and a 303-yard game at Southeast Missouri -- had little value for NFL scouts who don't question his rare ability.
The Buffalo Bills offer a potential perfect situation for Rogers to rehab his reputation and earn a second contract in the NFL before his 24th birthday.
The franchise has a history of resurrecting overlooked or bypassed talent. No. 1 receiver Stevie Johnson was a seventh-round pick, and starting running back Fred Jackson went undrafted. Until March, Ryan Fitzpatrick (seventh round, 2005) was Buffalo's starting quarterback.
Rogers can find redemption with the Bills, but first he has to prove he's ready to act the part of a professional. At 6-3, 217 with 4.5 speed and a 39-inch vertical, he looks the part. Will he act the part, too?
Behind Johnson, the Bills have 2013 second-round pick Robert Woods, 2012 third-round pick T.J. Graham, 2013 third-round pick Marquise Goodwin and veteran Brad Smith. Rogers, a possible sixth receiver, can stick on the roster with a strong camp. First-year coach Doug Marrone would be glad to make the numbers work if Rogers shows the same ability evident in a 67-catch sophomore season at Tennessee.
Players with more baggage -- Tyrann Mathieu of LSU, for one -- were drafted this week. And clearly, other talented receivers fumbled away first chances. Remeber the rap sheet on Randy Moss out of Marshall (via FSU)? How about two guilty pleas on battery charges, a domestic dispute with a girlfriend and a positive test for marijuana.
Moss was never the model civilian, but he kept his nose clean enough for 15 seasons, and he'll be modeling the distinguished yellow Hall of Fame blazer soon enough.
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