The Cardinals come into all NFL Drafts with the same philosophy, to draft the best player available on their board, and they were successful in this during the earlier rounds, taking LSU linebacker Kevin Minter in the second round, following a trade with the San Diego Chargers, and Texas defensive end Alex Okafor was excellent value in the fourth round, but as the draft progressed, one name stuck out on many draft boards as the top rated remaining prospect: Tennessee Tech wide-out Da'Rick Rogers.
Rogers enjoyed a successful record early on in high school, setting a school record in receiving yards (1,641) at Georgia State, making him a hot prospect for upper-tier college systems. After being taken in at Tennessee, Rogers found himself in a spot of bother, arrested for disorderly conduct outside a bar, which ultimately impacted his involvement at Tennessee in 2010. 2011 was a different story, where the real Da'Rick Rogers was on show. Recording 67 receptions for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns, earned Rogers a spot on the All-SEC Second Team, and Rogers stock was again on the rise.
'Internal issues' sent Rogers into disarray again, leading to his transfer to Tennessee Tech for the 2012 season. Competing at a lower level, Rogers dominated with 78 receptions for 1,207 yards, and eleven touchdowns. The questions about his character and commitment meant Roger slid on draft boards across the nation, but most had him pegged as a solid round 3 prospect.
The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine brought Rogers back into the national spotlight, and was a top performer in nearly all the measured drills, further cementing his place as a mid-round prospect. Now, Rogers experienced an unexpected slide, which saw him passed over 254 times, leading to him becoming an undrafted free agent.
The Cardinals experience a really solid draft, filling in some areas of need, one of them being wide receiver. The Cards really lacked a deep threat receiver with size and jump skills to compete with defensive backs. Having drafted Texas A&M wide-out Ryan Swope in the sixth round, ideally to play the slot, the managed to fill a roster spot with a high character guy with upside, which fits exactly what the Cardinals like to do with drafting prospects.
Rogers was a character risk. Removing him from multiple draft boards entirely, however, he stuck out like a sore thumb in terms of the most talented player remaining. Keim and Arians drafted in terms of talent available, so, in the fifth, sixth and even seventh round, Rogers was the most talented guy, so why wasn't he selected? Character issues. This contradicts itself already, as they already drafted a player in Tyrann Mathieu, kicked off the LSU team for multiple failed drug tests and wasn't committed enough to the team. He had the most questions, yet his stock wasn't effected as much, pegged as a third or fourth round prospect.
The Cardinals lack outside depth behind Larry Fitzgerald, and 2012 first round pick Michael Floyd, and Rogers would have been a great depth addition. Our seventh round selection, Rutgers tight end D.C Jefferson, isn't really an upgrade with upside at the position, and to me, that pick would've been well spent on Da'Rick, and Jefferson is likely not even to make the 53-man roster. A seventh round pick rarely makes a big impact, there is very, very little risk involved in that pick, making Rogers a high-reward prospect. There isn't a better player, or person to mentor you than Larry Fitzgerald, the rest of the Cardinals locker room and coaching staff are high-character guys who can steer Rogers straight, and if all else fails, he is cut in training camp, no harm done. Mathieu was drafted due to a heavy impact from former team-mate and Cards star Patrick Peterson, for vouched for Mathieu, but was still a high-risk pick none the less.
I really cannot think of a viable reason not to draft Da'Rick Rogers. The seventh round move on him was at such a low risk, with such high reward. I really think we missed out there. Rogers has signed as an UDFA with the Buffalo Bills, who are suddenly packed at wide receiver. They might have just signed the biggest steal of the 2013 NFL Draft when it's all and done.