Elise Amendola/Associated Press/Associated Press
Kenbrell Thompkins made plenty of key plays in his first season with New England.
Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Rogers showed the makings of a top NFL draft pick while at the University of Tennessee, but a myriad of issues off the field forced him to play his last collegiate season at Tennessee Tech. After being cut by the Bills as a UDFA, Rogers was picked up by the Colts and showed flashes of being a capable NFL receiver.
Rogers’ ability was on display during his six-catch, 107-yard outing agsint the Cincinnati Bengals, where he used his 6’3” frame and physical style of play to overwhelm their secondary.
With Hakeem Nicks now in the fold, Rogers likely won’t make much noise this season but could grow into something special as long as he stays focused on football.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots
Perhaps best known as the recipient of Tom Brady’s game-winning touchdown pass against the Saints, Thompkins did well when immediately thrown into the fire last season. Benefiting from the Patriots’ razor-thin receiving corps, he caught 32 balls for 466 yards and four touchdowns.
Thompkins had issues holding on to the ball and struggled to keep pace with Brady’s offense at times. However, the bruises from his rookie year added with another offseason should only help him going forward.
He will likely see a decline in statistical production with the increased role of Aaron Dobson but proved that he is worthy of an NFL roster spot.
Paul Worrilow, ILB, Atalanta Falcons
Worrilow’s statistics immediately jump off the page—127 tackles is nothing to scoff at, especially for an undrafted rookie.
He fits the paradigm you’d expect: He is nothing special athletically but makes up for it with smarts and intensity. What was most impressive about Worrilow was his ability to take charge on a team lacking direction and motivation. Perhaps Atlanta has stumbled upon the new leader of its defense.
But that doesn’t mean Worrilow has maximized his potential. He was out of position often in his first year. He also needs to improve strength-wise so offensive linemen won’t continue to body him.
Much is expected of Worrilow in 2014, and much needs to be improved.