Antonio Brown is still the household name but Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton, and Demarcus Ayers have all been knocking on the door during the season. Todd Haley gave them their due credit speaking with Bob Labriola on this week’s Coordinator’s Corner.
“I think they’ve shown a lot, throughout the season,” Haley said. “Cobi Hamilton, a guy we didn’t even have throughout most of training camp, really worked himself into a role by doing the things the way you’re supposed to do them. He stayed healthy and he got opportunity and he was able to make a big play in the game last week.”
I believe Hamilton was signed for the Friday Night Lights practice at Latrobe High School, a nondescript fill-in for Canaan Severin, the one-time UDFA darling of your local message board. He was able to eek out a role on the practice squad and when injuries came crashing down, got elevated to the 53 and has made an impact since. He’s proven to be an excellent blocker with sure hands and the ability to make combat catches. The volume hasn’t been there but he makes the most of his chances.
Haley says he knew Ayers had that NFL mentality right away.
“D.A., you know, continued to grow on he practice squad. I saw the switch go off with him in such a positive manner early in the season. And he just waited for his opportunity, got it, and he’s been able to make some big plays for us the last couple games.”
Ayers drew a big pass interference call against the Baltimore Ravens, made his first catch on the game-winning drive, and then secured his first touchdown in the win over the Cleveland Browns to close things out. He’ll likely see more of a reserve role against the Miami Dolphins but adds to the depth of the unit.
Then there’s Rogers, who has seen a big role for most of the season but has shown accelerated growth during the win streak.
“Eli has continued to grow. He’s probably had more opportunities than all of them. And he’s done a very good job with it. Made arguably made some of the bigger plays down the stretch.”
His diving reception on that last drive against the Ravens sticks out the most. He’s caught at least four passes for 60 yards in each of the last three weeks, adding in a touchdown catch for good measure. He’s the present and future starting slot receiver, another gem of a find by the scouting staff.