Highlights and Low-lights:
Zach Rogers didn't see significant playing time until his senior year at the University of Tennessee and flew under the radar in Knoxville. Both Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle stole the show for the Volunteers, which allowed Rogers commanding less attention by opposing secondaries. The highlight of Rogers season came against No. 17 South Carolina when he hauled in six catches for a career high 107 yards and finished with tied a school single game scoring record with three touchdowns.
The low point in Rogers' season and perhaps for the Volunteers was when they lined up against Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide. Tennessee boasted a high power passing game all season, led by Tyler Brey, but they could not find success against a Crimson Tide secondary that was led by current Jets' cornerback Dee Milliner. Rogers was shut out in the stats sheet, and he barely saw any throws come his way that afternoon.
Recipe for Success:
Rogers has been afforded an opportunity to play during minicamp and has opened the eyes of many of Gang Green's coaching staff. Santonio Holmes (foot), Stephen Hill (knee), Jeremy Kerley (heel), and Clyde Gates (hamstring) have all missed time during the team's OTAs. This has resulted in Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith targeting a group of inexperienced wide receivers. Rogers has been the surprise of the group and head Coach Rex Ryan has been impressed by his combination of speed and smart play while on the field. Rogers plays with a chip on his shoulder because he has never been handed playing time, even at Tennessee he didn't begin to be a crucial part of the offense until his junior year.
Rogers became the Volunteers third receiver when troubled player Da'rick Rogers was kicked off the team a year after he was one of the top wide receiver in the SEC. Rogers made six starts and finished the year with 32 receptions for 491 yards and was second on the team with seven touchdown catches. Rogers has always played with a chip on his shoulder after the lack of playing time during his Tennessee career and small amount of attention at the NFL draft, which is the reason behind his hard work ethic. The young receiver was a part of a deep Tennessee receiving corps, yet he was not selected in the 2013 draft. The Jets kept in touch with Rogers and signed him right away. Now with New York beat up at the wide receiver position, Rogers has a chance to continue to prove himself to Ryan and the rest of the coaches.
Rogers inherited the No. 15, which was worn by Tim Tebow last season. Rogers hopes to have a different impact for Gang Green while lining up as a slot receiver. In terms of Rogers having a breakout season? Don't expect a constant contributor who will be on highlight reels every week. He may not even be the best player in the Jets' draft class, but he does have a chance to consistently contribute to the Green and White's offense. Several factors will go into where Rogers will be placed on the depth chart. The first is how he performs during training camp because he does not have a permanent position on the team.
With Sanchez and Smith battling for a position, the team also has to see who will be throwing to the receiving core. The play of the other receivers will factor into how much playing time Rogers will ultimately get. If Holmes begins to play like an aging veteran, Hill continues his struggles and has a sophomore slump, and Kerley cannot sustain his recent success, Rogers may be able to make the squad and make contributions to the offense. If Rogers plays well during preseason he could find himself on special teams and possible receive reps with the offense.