Continuing our post-draft evaluations, we’re diving into the Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted free agent pool. We’ll do full breakdowns of the players that have enough tape available. We’ll take a break from the gluttony of offensive lineman we’ve profiled and look at Louisville receiver Eli Rogers.
#6 – Eli Rogers/WR Louisville: 5’10 187
– Quick-twitch player who explodes at the top of his break, shows the ability to separate
– Fluid athlete who doesn’t have any stiffness
– Has a good feel for defenders and dice a nice job settling into the soft spot against zone defenses
– Quick-to-the-tuck after the catch, gets upfield in a hurry and some ability to make defenses miss post-catch
– Good effort in getting his hands extended away from his body, can pluck the ball
– Tough and willing to go over the middle, willing to get his nose dirty
– Consistently productive
– Some return value
– Tiny frame with small hands, size will limit him to the slot at the next level
– More quick than fast who probably won’t win vertical too often
– Lack of size makes it difficult for him to adjust to poorly thrown balls, small catch radius
– Didn’t face it much but logical he will have trouble getting off press coverage at the next level
– Isn’t going to be an effective blocker who is better off trying to deceive pass than attempt to stalk block
– Rotated in and out of the lineup and wasn’t an every down receiver
– Limited route tree, out/dig and mesh concept heavy
– Never had a breakout season
– 2014: 45 receptions 525 yards 3 TDs, lead team in receptions
– Career: 176 receptions 2020 yards 12 TDs
– Had between 41-46 receptions and 454-536 yards in every season
– 29 career punt returns
– Had one 100+ yard game in his career, came during freshman season
– Never had more than five catches in a game senior year
– Went to the same high school as Teddy Bridgewater, two are very close and Rogers lived with him at points growing up
– Originally committed with Bridgewater to Miami (FL) before decommiting and going to Louisville, where Bridgewater followed suit
– Senior year of high school: 59 catches 691 yards 3 TDs despite missing three TDs
Rogers is an interesting story who, like so many we’ve profiled, overcame a lot. Grew up in a bad neighborhood and resisted the temptation of the streets. Raised by a single mother who would be diagnosed with AIDs, Rogers wound up living with the family of Teddy Bridgewater for a point in his life. The two are close and up until 2014, that was the only quarterback Rogers ever knew. Same high school, committed – and then decommitted – to the same colleges, and played together in college.
Like the offensive lineman we’ve profiled, Rogers is undersized. 5’10, 190 pound guys have some obvious limitations. He has a small build without any muscle. Immediately, you get the profile of a slot receiver. At best.
That isn’t always a terrible thing, of course. There are aspects of his game I get on board with. The definition of more quick than fast, he’s a twitchy slot receiver who can get separation. Benefits from a lot of zone coverage from the tape I watched as the Cardinal spread the field out more often, but it’s obvious the guy is explosive at the top of his route.
Slot right receiver at the top of the screen. Quick out route, shaking the corner, making a clean catch, and getting upfield. Moves the sticks on third down. All positives.
Simple mesh concept that gets him open but I like what he does after the catch. Very much an unassuming player, a trait I like. Doesn’t give up. Fights through the tackle and nearly scores. Don’t expect him to bowl people over in the NFL but he gives good effort.
This is a player who did have more receptions than DeVante Parker though the clear caveat is that Parker played a fraction of the games.
His issues are of course size related. Plays like what you’ll see below aren’t his fault but they’re ones bigger receivers have a better chance of bailing their QB in. Small hands and smaller catch radius creates an incompletion after the ball clangs off Rogers’ hands.
Tiny hands lets the Miami DB play the pocket and knock the pass away.
There is some intrigue with him. He’s not the best UDFA the Steelers brought in but he isn’t just another “body” either. During camp, drills that typically have less contest, his ability to separate is going to earn him at least a footnote in one of my articles.
His size will always work against him but there’s some real practice squad material here.
Percent of Making the 53: 5%
Games Watched: vs Miami (FL), at Virginia, vs Kentucky
Previous UDFA Scouting Reports: