Bolts Prospect Analysis: Cornerback, Part I

Jaime Cattano leaps into her new three-part series analyzing the cornerbacks the Chargers conducted private meetings with during Senior Bowl week. The first prospect garners the Bolts' attention not just for his amazing speed and athleticism, but for his surname, as well.

The Chargers coaching staff grabbed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee State for a private meeting at the beginning of the Senior Bowl week. Days later, "RoCro" received the Under Amour Prototype Award for the South Team.

This athlete's awe-inspiring performance in Mobile, Ala., prompted the coaching staffs of Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs to join the Chargers in requesting additional face time.

RoCro (6'2", 181 pounds) was named to the 2007 Associated Press FCS All-American team and the 2007 All-Ohio Valley Conference team. He finished his senior season with two interceptions -- both returned for touchdowns -- and chipped in 37 tackles (28 solo). His giant vertical helped him swipe 11 pass break-ups and four blocked kicks.

RoCro possesses a flair similar to that of his cousin, Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie. However, RoCro knows actions speak louder than words, even those on the back of his jersey.

"The first two days out here have been going really well," he said from the Senior Bowl. "I'm being consistent in my play and I feel like I'm showing the coaches what I do best. I'm eager to be out here with the best."

RoCro made a memorable impression at the Senior Bowl. He intercepted a Joe Flacco pass during the game and made an even more impressive pick earlier in the week during practice.

"I had the inside man and -- seeing that he was still running as the quarterback released the ball -- I left the man and played the ball," he said of practice interception.

Coming from Division 1AA, his incredible stats are understandable. It's his zenith speed and airborne ability that will allow him to play with the big dogs in the NFL.

RoCro's versatility sets him apart. He moved back and forth from strong safety to cornerback under the San Francisco 49ers coaches' instruction during the week at the Senior Bowl.

"I'm fine with where ever the coaches put me, whether it is at a strong safety or cornerback. I keep going back and forth this week but I'm completely comfortable at either of those positions."

His keen eye follows the ball like a vulture in feeding, and he can shoot to the highest point to grab the ball. This talent stems from his reigning OVC Indoor Track Champion title in the 60-yard dash, the long jump and the high jump.

RoCro never played football until his senior year in high school. The Chargers know that Dominque -- just like his cousin a couple of years ago -- has his best games ahead of him.

The jury is still out as to whether the Bolts will re-sign Drayton Florence, whose five-year contract is set to expire. Florence lost his starting role to Antonio Cromartie midway through last season.

If the Chargers invest their first-round pick in RoCro, Florence could lose his job to a Cromartie for the second time in less than a year.

While RoCro is not as physical as he will need to be on the next level, he is prepared for life in the NFL and knows he has to pave his own path.

"I need to get in there and work hard. I'm ready to do what's needed to better the team."

RoCro's performance at the Senior Bowl upped his ante in the draft. Now the question becomes, will the Chargers follow suit?


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