If we traded down ??
THIS GUY MIGHT BE IN HORNS!
They mention Ron Bartell in this also!
Just like when we drafted Hill.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's renowned trainer believes he's the second coming of Deion Sanders.
Skeptics wonder if Rodgers-Cromartie can become a prime-time NFL cornerback.
Small school cornersOn April 26, Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie could become the first small-school cornerback drafted in the first round since 1995. Here is how other small-school cornerbacks selected in the second round this decade have fared.
Ron Bartell (St. Louis, 2005, Howard University): The Central Michigan transfer started 12 of 16 games for the Rams in 2007.
Ricardo Colclough (Pittsburgh, 2004, Tusculum): Waived by the Steelers in 2007 without having started a game; Now with Carolina.
Rashean Mathis (Jacksonville, 2003, Bethune-Cookman): Five-year starter and Pro Bowl selection in 2006.
Drayton Florence (San Diego, 2003, Tuskegee): Received $12 million guaranteed to sign as a free agent with Jacksonville last month.
A small-college standout with big-time athleticism, Rodgers-Cromartie has become one of the most hotly debated draft prospects. That's because he might become the first defensive back chosen despite a pedigree that normally scares NFL teams from taking such a gamble.
"It's been crazy," Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday during a telephone interview. "All the media attention and having all the scouts look at me ... It's crazy how basically my name blew up so quick."
Rodgers-Cromartie was drawing NFL attention as a senior at Tennessee State, a Division I subdivision program (formerly Division I-AA) in Nashville. But his stock began to skyrocket in January. He capped an impressive week of Senior Bowl practices against Division I competition by winning the game's defensive MVP honors.
The next month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Rodgers-Cromartie may have separated himself from a draft class that includes highly touted prospects Leodis McKelvin (Troy), Mike Jenkins (South Florida) and Aqib Talib (Kansas). Already taller than most cornerbacks at 6-foot-2, Rodgers-Cromartie blazed a 4.33-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Rodgers-Cromartie -- an Ohio Valley Conference track champion -- also finished with the top position marks in four of seven individual drills. His leaping prowess (a 38.5-inch vertical jump) and quickness in cone drills -- which translates well to closing speed in coverage -- were particularly impressive.
He excelled again Friday at his on-campus Pro Day despite having to perform on a wet playing surface before representatives of 20-plus NFL teams.
Tom Shaw handled Rodgers-Cromartie pre-draft preparation at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Shaw has worked with 94 first-round draft choices and said Cromartie most reminds him of Sanders, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee when becoming eligible in 2011.
Like Sanders, Rodgers-Cromartie showed big-play prowess at Tennessee State. He returned four of his 11 career interceptions for touchdowns while adding scores on kickoff and fumble returns. Shaw says Rodgers-Cromartie also has the skills to shine on offense as a wide receiver a la Sanders.
"If there's going to be somebody that's as good as Deion that I've (trained) in the last 20 years, it's Dominique," Shaw said. "I think Dominique is a Hall of Famer. The way this kid can react to the football, the way he adjusts ... He's the best receiver I have in this camp. He's a kid that can do everything."
Rodgers-Cromartie said he was honored that Shaw offered such high praise.
"That means it's real because I know where he comes from and the players he's coached," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I really don't look at people and say, 'That's who I play like.' I just go out and play. But I think I do have some of the similarities as far as ball skills and game-breaking speed."
Not everyone is that sold. No small-school cornerback has been chosen in the first-round since Tyrone Poole (Fort Valley State) in 1995. That reflects concerns NFL teams have about whether players can make the adjustment needed to excel against much better competition and more complex offensive schemes.
NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt said Rodgers-Cromartie played primarily in a cover-three zone scheme in college and wasn't a strong tackler.
"He's going to have to learn how to play better man (coverage) now and recognize so much more," said Brandt, who projects Rodgers-Cromartie will be chosen between picks No. 16 and 20.
Rodgers-Cromartie takes umbrage when criticized for not being a particularly physical player. He ranked among Tennessee State's top five tacklers the past three seasons. In that span, Rodgers-Cromartie led all college cornerbacks in fewest yards allowed after catches with a 3.54 average.
"I tackled well at the Senior Bowl, but everybody has to have a knock about me," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I guess that's mine."
There is one more: A medical red flag stemming from the fact Rodgers-Cromartie only has one kidney. Rodgers-Cromartie said he had the non-functioning kidney removed at the age of eight and has "never had an injury problem with it."
Rodgers-Cromartie has proven doubters wrong before. He initially didn't receive a scholarship offer coming out of Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Fla. But even with his all-city status, it's hard to blame any Division I program for passing.
Rodgers-Cromartie, who attended four different high schools because of family and personal reasons, weighed only 155 pounds as a senior. Rodgers-Cromartie said the only reason Tennessee State expressed interest was because his father was friends with the school's defensive coordinator.
Rodgers-Cromartie had little time to bulk up before being thrust into the starting lineup midway through his freshman season. He then struggled adjusting to life away from home, especially when the weather began turning cold.
"At first, it was hard because I had no family up there," said Rodgers-Cromartie, the first cousin of San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie. "There were times my freshman year I just wanted to go back home and walk on at a smaller school, but I toughed it out."
Because of his college background, Rodgers-Cromartie said one of the questions NFL teams most frequently ask is "whether I will be a consistent player. Will I show up like I did at the Senior Bowl?"
Rodgers-Cromartie can't wait to provide an answer -- on the field.
"I don't think playing at a small school is a problem, but teams do bring that up a lot," he said. "I do feel I can help a team right away.":)
Their eyes are on versatile Buckeye
March 20, 2008
For a few hours yesterday morning, the Patriots explored the possibility of having Buckeye bookends in their linebacker corps, as they put Ohio State's Vernon Gholston through a private workout in Columbus, Ohio.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 266-pound Gholston is considered one of the top prospects available in next month's draft. Although he played mostly defensive end at Ohio State, he would project as an outside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme, where he would likely line up opposite fellow Buckeye Mike Vrabel.
The Patriots, who have the seventh overall selection, schedule numerous private workouts leading up to the draft. The workouts don't necessarily indicate surefire interest, but it does reflect that more information is being sought before making a determination.
Gholston has impressed scouts in workouts at the NFL Combine last month, and at Ohio State's Pro Day this month. He totaled 37 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press at the combine, the most of any player at any position. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds this month on Ohio State's campus, while posting a 42-inch vertical jump, according to NFL.com.
Gholston, who entered the draft after his junior season, is considered one of the premier pass rushers available. His 22 1/2 sacks rank fifth in Ohio State history.
The Buckeyes' all-time leader in sacks is Vrabel, who had 36 from 1993-96. At the combine, Gholston talked about how he enjoyed seeing Vrabel on campus.