Bills had first round grade on Da'Rick Rogers' 'football ability'

Andy Lyons

The Buffalo Bills signed undrafted free agent Da'Rick Rogers, and according to GM Buddy Nix, the team would have drafted him in the first or second round if not for his off-the-field issues.

The 2013 NFL Draft came and went, and teams passed on former Tennessee wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers 254 times, making him an undrafted free agent. He chose to sign with the Buffalo Bills, a team with a sizable hole at the second receiver position that Rogers might be able to fill nicely.

On Tuesday, Bills general manager Buddy Nix revealed that the Bills were very high on Rogers' football abilities. In a post on the team website, it's noted that Nix and the Bills' scouting department had a first-to-second round grade on Rogers ... when it came to his "football ability."

Rogers failed at least three drug tests at the University of Tennessee and was forced to finish his college eligibility with a rather pedestrian season at Tennessee Tech. He's claimed to have passed 10 drug tests since then, but the damage to his reputation off the field was done, hence him falling in the draft.

In other words, the Bills felt the tape on Rogers was good enough to pick him in the first round if the draft shook out the proper way, so if Rogers can actually keep himself out of trouble off the field, the Bills could be getting a steal.

But again, it all goes back to whether or not Rogers can keep himself out of trouble. "He was one of our thirty visits. He sat in my office, and I told him how it would be here, and what we expected," Nix said on The John Murphy Show, "He can either make a living playing football or get a job. I think he understands that."

Those are strong words, and it makes it clear that there will probably be a zero tolerance policy for Rogers and off-the-field indiscretions. Still, Rogers seems to recognize the opportunity he has at hand, and the Bills could have the steal of the offseason on their hands.

More from SB Nation:

2013 NFL draft lessons learned

2014 NFL mock draft: Who gets Clowney?

The Trufants: A football family

The NFL draft's winners and losers

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Undrafted free agent tracker

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