One of the bigger stories heading into the NFL Draft was the possible slide of former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers. Considered one of the top talents at wide receiver, he was expected to fall into the fourth or fifth round due to off-the-field issues. Unfortunately for him, he fell much farther than that, watching 254 other players' names called before signing with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent.
But Rogers isn't blaming anyone but himself, which is exactly what you want to see in a player who experiences such off-the-field issues. As noted by Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, Rogers took plenty of responsibility back at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.
"It's frustrating, but I did it to myself, and I realize how hard I have to work now that I'm behind the 8-ball," Rogers said at the combine. It's clear that he knows what his issues have been and that he intends to change them, but he does have a lot to overcome. He easily could have been a first-round pick if not for his off-the-field issues, and instead has what is likely a totally non-guaranteed contract with the Bills.
Rogers had a big impact at Tennessee before he left the program. He was an All-SEC selection as a sophomore and had over 1,000 yards that year, with nine touchdowns. But he failed at least three drug tests for marijuana and was suspended from the Tennessee program.
He claims to have passed 10 tests at Tennessee Tech, but even if that's true, it's clear the earlier failed tests were enough to derail his hype.
Fortunately for Rogers, he should be able to catch on and make things happen in Buffalo. The team has Stevie Johnson as their No. 1 receiver, and that's not changing any time soon, but things are pretty open behind him. His chief competition for playing time will be Robert Woods, who was drafted by the Bills in the second round this year.
Woods is a pick that has been heralded by draft experts since the pick was made, and he'll have a leg-up on Rogers when training camp and preseason gets underway. That said, there's plenty of room for Rogers to make an impact, especially with a Bills team that is trying to re-vamp the offense in a big way with the selection of quarterback E.J. Manuel in the first round.