When Washington tabbed cornerback Carlos Rogers with the ninth pick in the 2005 draft they were hoping that he would be a solid contributor during his rookie year. They got just that. He played in 12 games, starting five of them. Against the run he displayed the hard-hitting style that Gregg Williams demands from his corners. In his first start he put his hat on a ball in the arms of the league MVP Shaun Alexander, popping it loose. Although the ball rolled out of bounds his willingness to put his hat on the ball was established.
His pass defense was good and he displayed a knack for being able to make the spectacular catch for an interception. In particular, a leaping pick against the Chargers (pictured above) was highlight-film material.
The injury bug did bite Rogers to an extent as he lost some time early with ankle problems and was inactive for the last three regular season games with a torn bicep.
In 2006 the expectations for Rogers go up. He will be the starter from day one for a team that is expected to contend for the division title and perhaps much more. Under such scrutiny rookie mistakes become costly veteran screwups.
The pressure on Rogers is heightened, as he will find himself on an island with great frequency. Safeties Adam Archuleta and Sean Taylor are expected to focus heavily on run support and will be blitzing frequently. If the opposing offenses go play action or are able to protect against the blitz, Rogers will find himself the only obstacle between a receiver and the end zone.
Rogers may also find himself in a position where he is the team's prime cornerback. Shawn Springs seems to have plenty left in the tank but he just turned 31 and the tank is not bottomless. He started 15 regular season games but missed the first round of the playoffs with a groin injury.