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Da’Rick Rogers: Getting better or worse?

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Image via Tennessee Journalist / Flickr

What do you know about Da’Rick Rogers? Do you remember that he burst onto the scene in 2011, catching 1000+ yards and 9 TDs as a sophomore at Tennessee? Did you notice that he had off the field troubles that led him to transfer to Tennessee Tech before last season? Did you see that went bonkers at the NFL Combine? It’s this mix of strong productivity, relegation to purgatory, and a re-emergence on the scene that has me wondering, “What should we make of Da’Rick Rogers’ NFL prospects?”The first thing you must know about Rogers is his elite physical profile. Would you agree that Julio Jones is one of the biggest freaks in the NFL? If so, then you’ll be impressed that Rogers can almost match his athleticism across the board

Player Ht. Wt. 40 V. Jump B. Jump Shuttle 3 Cone
Da’Rick Rogers 74.5 217 4.5 39.5 132 4.06 6.71
Julio Jones 74.8 220 4.34 38.5 135 4.25 6.66

Yes, Julio is a bit faster, but this should give you an idea of Rogers’ raw athleticism. The guy is rare. The upside is huge. But what about the productivity?

Rogers originally caught my eye after the 2011 season when I noticed his outstanding performance in the market share metrics. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the chance to watch a lot of Tennessee Tech football, so when I went to research his 2012 season, I was disappointed to find this:

2011 2012 % change
Yards Per Target 9 8.6 -5%
Market Share of Yards 35% 33.6% -4%
Market Share of TD 50% 38.5% -23%
Red Zone TD% 55% 50.0% -9%

Across the board it looks like he took a step back. Admittedly, when a player’s baseline is THAT good to begin with, it can be tough to improve, but regression is still a bummer. If we were scoring him on the Eric Decker test, his 2012 season would only pass two of the four hurdles. What frustrates me most is that the yards per target number, which should really be around 10, went in the wrong direction. If you read any of my other articles, you’ll know that I believe a player should be trending upward across his final two seasons, not downward. And to make things worse, he trended downward after jumping from the SEC to the FCS. Imagine Julio Jones playing against FCS defensive backs. The guy would dominate! So what’s up with Da’Rick Rogers?

A Tale of Three Seasons: 2011, with Lamb, with Stone

If you dig a little deeper into the file, you’ll learn that the quarterback at Tennessee Tech, Tre Lamb, is the son of Rogers’ high school coach. As you’ll see, Lamb and Rogers had a great connection. Unfortunately, Lamb missed the last four games of the year. So what if we looked at their 7 games together as its own “season”?

2011 2012–7 games
w/ Lamb
% change
Yards Per Target 9 10.8 21%
Market Share of Yards 35% 38% 7%
Market Share of TD 50% 44% -11%
Red Zone TD% 55% 56% 1%

Interesting. In this “season,” Rogers takes a small step forward relative to 2011 and passes all four of the hurdles associated with premier NFL receivers. It makes you wonder how bad things were in his four game “season” with Darian Stone at quarterback.

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Overall, the Tech passing game went into the crapper and Rogers numbers followed suit. Maybe Rogers DID actually take a step forward from 2011 to 2012, but the results were masked by those disastrous four games with a lousy quarterback and an unavoidable losing record.

So what are we to think of Da’Rick Rogers for dynasty purposes? Physically, I think he is the most interesting receiver in this WR class, barely edging out this guy. When it comes to a rookie dynasty drafts you can find guys like Robert Woods and Quinton Patton every year. While I think DeAndre Hopkins is the best bet to become an immediate fantasy contributor, Da’Rick Rogers has the highest dynasty upside to become an elite #1 wide receiver.

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