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Justin Rogers figures to have more return chances next year
Cornerback Justin Rogers jumped unexpectedly onto the scene last season as a seventh-round draft choice.
Not many people thought he’d have any significant contributions in his rookie season. Considering he’s only 5’10” and 181 pounds, it was unclear whether or not he could hold his own against NFL receivers.
Amidst skepticism and general disinterest, Rogers impressed in his first year.
He did a great job returning kicks for the Bills in 2011, logging 373 kick return yards on 13 attempts, good enough for just under 30 yards per return. In college, the speedy Rogers set a Richmond school record for career return yards, and he carried that over into his rookie campaign.
Rogers also recorded the first interception of his NFL career last season in limited action. Despite his smaller stature, he’s actually a very good cover corner. He looked increasingly comfortable in man-to-man coverage, and he could be in for an increased role in 2012.
Reggie Corner is a free agent, Terrence McGee will be 32 in October and Leodis McKelvin is a bit of a wild card right now. With a small window of opportunity on the horizon, Rogers will be prepared to make the most of it.
Prior to Rogers’ rookie campaign, Bills secondary coach George Catavolos, who is well-respected around the league, praised Rogers for his intelligence and physical skills at the cornerback position, suggesting that the young defensive back would be an immediate contributor to the Bills’ secondary.
Rogers has the potential to continue the successful string of Bills returners that have emerged in recent seasons. In addition, he could carve out a role in the secondary with his combination of elite speed, intelligence and cover abilities.