Da'Rick Rodgers has thrown his name in the ring among an interesting crop of wide receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Rogers was honored at Tennessee Tech's senior day and will enter the 2013 NFL Draft, according to Josh Ward.
Da'Rick Rogers is being honored at Tennessee Tech's Senior Day. The school announced he will enter the NFL draft this year.
— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) November 10, 2012
Rogers spent the first two seasons of his NCAA career at the University of Tennesee but was dismissed from the team after two failed drug tests and repeated run-ins with the coaching staff. He moved down a level to play this season, transferring to Tennessee Tech, where he has had an up and down season.
Rogers' talent is evident, but off-the-field concerns loom large with Rogers. The pre-draft process will be crucial for Rogers, as he has to prove to teams that he has matured in the last few months since transferring.
On the field, Rogers made headlines this season for a game in which he racked up 303 receiving yards in one game. The rest of the season hasn't been quite as successful for Rogers, but he will likely be drafted in the first three rounds. If recent drafts have taught us anything, it's that teams will take a chance on a high upside player with character concerns. Just don't expect Rogers to come off the board in the first round.
Rogers is a virtual Julio Jones clone, exhibiting an exciting combination of size, strength and explosiveness.
He signed with Tennessee as one of the most highly regarded prep prospects in the entire country, and immediately showed off his versatility, racking up 167 yards as a receiver and 117 yards as a runner (reverses, etc.).
Rogers was expected to serve as the complementary piece to Justin Hunter last season, but stepped up once his teammate was injured and went on to lead the SEC with 1,040 receiving yards in 2011. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark in six games, one short of a Tennessee record, and earned First Team All-SEC honors by the media and league coaches.
While there are plenty of traits about Rogers scouts will love, one they must be concerned about is Rogers' accountability on and off the field. For violating team rules, Rogers was suspended indefinitely by Tennessee coach Derek Dooley on Aug. 23 and ultimately transferred to Tennessee Tech.
"We?re excited to have him and look forward to working with him," Tech coach Watson Brown said Aug. 27. "It?s a unique situation for me, but we know he?s a good kid. He knows a couple of the players on our team, and we know his high school coach, and we?re going on their recommendations.
"After meeting with Da?Rick and his family, I can see what everybody is saying about him," Brown added. "We?ve met with Da?Rick and he understands our expectations."
One of the elements to Rogers' game that is so impressive is that despite playing in the ultra-physical SEC, Rogers proved too strong for most teams to consider pressing. He's also versatile, showing the ability to line up outside, as well as in the slot.
While it is easy to get excited about Rogers' size-speed potential, one of his greatest attributes is simply his toughness, as he absorbed several big collisions on games viewed and never dropped a pass due to a hit.
He's generally a reliable pass catcher, but will occasionally look to juke the defender before securing the pass, resulting in an occasional bad drop.
Rogers is a powerful runner who fights for additional yardage and has the agility and speed to run away from the pack for explosive plays.
Until he cleans up the conception that he's a trouble-maker, it may not matter how talented Rogers is, NFL teams will be too concerned to give him the first-round grade he deserves.