Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers was cut from the Cleveland Browns after 3 seasons. His 2008 season remains his best with the team. Rogers was clearly the defense’s top player at times, but he fell out of favor with new head coach Pat Shurmur.
Here are some of the pros and cons to signing Shaun Rogers. All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com and NFL.com.
#1. 3-4 Nose Tackle and 4-3 System
Rogers has spent the past 3 seasons primarily playing as a 3-4 nose tackle. With nearly half of the teams in the league running a 3-4 system at least part-time, Rogers’ experience will be valued. Rogers also played defensive end for most of the 2010 season after Ahtyba Rubin took over the nose tackle position.
Prior to his time in Cleveland, Rogers lined up at multiple spots in the Detroit Lions’ defensive scheme for 7 seasons. His position versatility may make teams overlook some of Rogers’ red flags in an attempt to add a quality defensive lineman.
#2. Size and Strength
Rogers is listed at 6’4″ and 350 pounds, but has weighed as much as 390 pounds in some seasons. He has elite strength in his lower body and biceps, but is sloppy around the midsection. Rogers’ weight leads to conditioning problems, particularly late in the season.
However Rogers is surprisingly and unusually quick for such a large player. Despite playing as a 3-4 nose tackle, Rogers collected 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his 1st season in Cleveland. His numbers have declined since that 2008 season, but it could be argued that the Browns’ lack of quality defensive players hindered Rogers. Signing with a team that has more talented defensive players could allow Rogers to put up elite numbers again.
#3. Special Teams
Rogers is a league leader in blocked kicks on special teams for a career. He’s blocked 10 field goal attempts and 1 PAT. He has the strength to anchor the middle of the formation, but the agility and jumping ability to elevate and get his hand on a kick.
Rogers has had several injuries during his career, including a recent leg injury. The leg injury is of significant concern as Rogers’ weight makes it difficult to rehabilitate on a quick schedule.
Previous injuries have included a broken leg and recurring knee problems.
#2. Character Concerns
Rogers has dealt with multiple problems off the field. He attempted to carry a loaded gun onto a flight in April of 2010, claiming that he had forgotten it. Law enforcement reported that the gun was cocked and had a bullet in the chamber when it was discovered.
Rogers has also been suspended for 4 games after taking a banned substance.
Throughout Shaun Rogers’ career, he’s been labeled a rare talent but underwhelming. He could have been a star defensive tackle, but instead has settled for being occasionally great. It’s almost as though he doesn’t have the passion for the sport that some other players have.
At this point in his career, I think Rogers would be most successful in a veteran locker room and playing in a defensive system where he doesn’t have to be too active. Expecting Rogers to penetrate a gap and chase down a quarterback for 40 to 50 plays a game is a poor idea. He should be a part of a rotation instead of being relied upon as a full-time defensive tackle.
I would guess that Rogers is most likely to sign with the Dallas Cowboys or Kansas City Chiefs. Signing with Dallas would reunite him with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Kansas City has his former head coach, Romeo Crennel. The Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins also have a need for a nose tackle.
ESPN.com Shaun Rogers Player Page. February 11th, 2011.
NFL.com Shaun Rogers Career Stats. February 11th, 2011.