Immaturity not only caused Buffalo Bills rookie receiver Da'Rick Rogers to be dismissed from the University of Tennessee before the 2012 season, but it also prevented him from hearing his name called during the 2013 NFL Draft. Nevertheless, Rogers relishes his opportunity with the Bills and realizes this may be his one chance at success in the NFL.
"I cherish it like gold. This is it," Rogers said shortly after joining his new teammates in opening the team's three-day rookie minicamp this weekend. "This is my last opportunity. "I've got to make the best of it."
In college, Rogers overpowered defenders on his way to second-team All-SEC status with 67 receptions for 1,040 yards and nine scores in 2011 and had similar numbers last year (78 catches for 1,207 yards and 11 TDs). The big-bodied receiver has strong hands, excels across the middle and is tough-as-nails to bring down after the catch and made a name for himself as hands down one of the most talented receivers in this year's draft class.
Coach Doug Marrone seems to share Rogers' sentiments and is both intrigued by the prospect and concerned about his past.
"It's a one-shot deal,'' Marrone said during a conference call with Bills season-ticket holders last week. "Either you've learned your lesson and you've grown up and you're going to go forward and mature, or you haven't learned your lesson and you're going to be out on the street. It's that simple.''
Looks like Rogers will have a very good chance of earning a prominent role as a rookie in the Bills' up-and-coming offense if he can keep his head on straight and continue to learn and grow as a pro.
But the slightest slip-up and Rogers will receive his walking papers. Hey, no pressure.
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @MichaelGartman on Twitter. Be sure to NFL Draft Insiders on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @NFLdraftnetwork to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!