The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Vikings News

August 6, 2013

Small college players getting their props


— Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech wide receiver, Buffalo Bills.

Rogers has shown flashes of his ability at training camp, including a 48-yard catch in the team's scrimmage on Monday night. The undrafted rookie, however, remains in a secondary group of wide receivers competing for only one or two final spots on the roster. Rookies Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin and second-year receiver T.J. Graham are all ahead of Rogers on the depth chart, getting more playing time with the starters in practice.

Rogers went undrafted. He was dismissed from the team at Tennessee, but he was dominant at the FCS level with Tennessee Tech last season with 78 receptions for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns.

— Rontez Miles, California University of Pennsylvania safety, New York Jets.

Miles is a darkhorse candidate to make the team at safety, where he is currently listed as sixth or seventh on the depth chart. His spot is mostly due to the fact that he missed the first week of practice while on the physically unable to perform list with a hip injury before being removed last Thursday. Since, he's been in the rotation working with the third-team defense. He's a hard hitter, who reminds coach Rex Ryan of Laron Landry, who spent last season with the Jets. Miles will likely make his presence felt — literally — in the preseason games.

After leaving Kent State, Miles wound up at Division II California, where he became a two-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He plays in honor of his half-brother, who is in prison in Pittsburgh awaiting murder charges.

— David Bass, Missouri Western defensive end, Oakland Raiders.

Bass, like Johnson, has the benefit of being a draft pick, albeit in the seventh round out of Division II Missouri Western. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Bass has been in the mix for a role behind veterans Andre Carter, Jason Hunter and Lamarr Houston and incumbent starter Jack Crawford, but he has the potential to contribute on a team that has been lacking a pass rush. Bass has the quickness and ability, too, to drop into coverage and play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

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