Zach Rogers Stood Out Among Deep Class At Tenn
Jets WR Zach Rogers stood out among deep class at Tennessee
Throughout the offseason, we'll be looking at some of the under-the-radar players that will be competing for roster spots during OTAs and training camp. Today, we're highlighting wide receiver Zach Rogers out of Tennessee. His college position coach, Darin Hinshaw, was kind enough to help us understand how he might fit into an NFL offense.
Darin Hinshaw had countless scouts in his office at Tennessee last season asking questions and watching film on Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter.
As the Volunteers' wide receiver coach, it was easy to say nice things about two NFL-ready wideouts with first or second-round grades on them.
But after sharing the tape, Hinshaw said everyone would leave asking more about Zach Rogers, the 6-0, 172-pound slot receiver who posted 32 catches for 491 yards and seven touchdowns his senior year.
He wasn't surprised.
"After you watched the games, they all wanted to know about Zach," Hinshaw, now the passing game coordinator at the University of Cincinnati, said by phone Friday. "And everybody said it: You got two good ones here, but Zach Rogers -- I don't want to say he's going to be the best one -- but the Jets are really going to like having him."
He added: "You can always count on Zach Rogers. The only reason he's not super big-time is, he's 180 pounds and -- you know, he was just as fast as the other guys -- and honestly, it's because he's white." He said this part with a laugh.
The curiosity surrounding Rogers ballooned last week when Rex Ryan pegged him as one of the early risers in rookie minicamp. Spotlighting prospects without pads on is a fickle, and often worthless, exercise but Hinshaw saw it coming after watching Rogers operate in his pro-style offense at Tennessee.
The Vols' passing game drew from both the Patriots and Packers offenses. Rogers would be primarily used in the slot, but could split out to expand the offense. Opponents ran plenty of two-high safety looks against Tennessee to counter Hunter and Patterson and that's when Rogers would bump out wide.
"He's so fast, the South Carolina game last year he played against some really good defensive backs and tore them up for three touchdowns," Hinshaw said. "But he can split out, we split him out to run the deep post and take the top off the defenses."
The easy, and incorrect, way to pigeonhole a wide receiver like Rogers would be to compare him against current slot receivers of a similar body type: Danny Amendola, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Eddie Royal, Jordan Shipley.
"He's not Welker, Wes is a little squattier and has a lot of strength and is really, really quick," Hinshaw said. "Zach is very quick but doesn't have the strength Wes has. He's a little bit faster."
Except for one similarity.
"But he's definitely like those guys in that you can see him playing 15 years in the NFL," Hinshaw said.
Rogers was fourth on the Volunteers in receiving (second in touchdowns) last season and played in all 12 games. He does have a history of injuries -- concussion, ankle, shoulder, triceps -- but that didn't stop a few draft analysts from labeling him as one of the top sleepers in the class.