Rogan has tough road

Rogan has tough road

Dennis Rogan probably made a mistake by skipping his senior season of Tennessee football. He may have made another by signing with the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs.

Rogan's decision to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility backfired when he was not selected in the recent NFL Draft. He then signed a free-agent deal with the Bucs, who do not appear to be a particularly good fit for his skill set.

Here's why:

The Bucs like big safeties. Their 2009 starters were 6-3, 224-pound Sabby Piscitelli and 6-0, 200-pound Tanard Jackson. Jermaine Phillips, a 6-2, 230-pounder, has been a key contributor at safety when healthy. Tampa Bay recently signed 6-1, 220-pound Sean Jones away from the Philadelphia Eagles and picked up 6-3, 212-pound De'von Hall on waivers from the Indianapolis Colts. All of these guys dwarf the 5-10, 178-pound Rogan.

Piscitelli recorded 91 stops in 15 starts last season. Jackson registered 85 tackles and 5 interceptions, despite missing four games due to injury. Both are fourth-year pros with plenty of good years ahead of them. Jones, a seven-year man, registered 72 tackles and two interceptions with the Eagles last season.

The Bucs' roster also includes safety prospects Emanuel Cook and Cody Grimm. Cook is a 5-10, 180-pounder who spent his rookie season of 2009 on injured reserve. Grimm is a 5-11, 210-pounder from Virginia Tech who was taken in Round 7 of the recent NFL Draft.

Rogan's greatest attribute is his versatility; he also can play cornerback and return kicks. Unfortunately for him, the Bucs are well fortified in both of those areas, as well.

Tampa Bay features two of the NFL's premier cornerbacks in 14-year veteran Ronde Barber and third-year man Agib Talib. Barber is a five-time Pro Bowl selection. Talib, the team's first-round draft pick in 2008, recorded 5 interceptions and a team-high 17 passes defended last season.

The Buc roster also features corner candidates Brandon Anderson (5-10, 179), E.J. Biggers (6-0, 180), Myron Lewis (6-2, 203), Corey Lynch (6-0, 206), Elbert Mack (5-10, 175), Darrell Pasco (6-0, 170) and Derrick Roberson (5-10, 182).

Anderson spent most of '09 on Tampa Bay's practice squad, while Biggers spent the season on injured reserve due to a shoulder problem. Lewis was the Bucs' third-round pick in the recent draft after a standout career at Vanderbilt. Lynch contributed mostly on special teams last season, blocking a punt and a field goal. Pasco, a Georgia Southern product, was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. Roberson spent most of last season on the practice squad but was active for six games.

Rogan enjoyed considerable success as a return man at UT but the Bucs appear to be loaded in that area. Clifton Smith averaged 29.1 yards on 31 kickoff returns last season, with a long of 83 yards. Sammy Stroughter averaged 29.5 yards on 11 returns with a long of 97 yards.

The same duo also handles Tampa Bay's punt-return duties. Smith averaged 10.1 yards last season, Stroughter 9.9.

Unless Dennis Rogan has a spectacular preseason camp, he will be hard-pressed to earn a roster spot with the Bucs.

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