Reggie Rogers. 1987's #1 draft pick -- a fleet-footed defensive end who could chase down running backs, sideline-to-sideline. But Reggie was involved in a car accident in which a person was killed, and in which Reggie himself was badly injured. There was a trial. Vehicular manslaughter. End of career.
Andre Ware. 1990's #1 draft pick -- a record-setting arm at the University of Houston. Drafted into the frenetic, ADD-like offense of the run-n-shoot that the Lions were playing around with. But Ware lacked one significant ingredient to being a serviceable NFL quarterback: the ability to throw the ball anywhere near an intended receiver. The poster boy of all bad Lions' draft picks.
Juan Roque, 1996's #1 draft pick -- a six-foot-eight, 330 pound tackle out of Arizona State. Supposed to be a pillar of the offensive line for years to come. He ended up being simply a pillar -- the inanimate kind. Career over in short order.
Stockar McDougle, 2000's #1 draft pick -- a six-foot-six tackle out of Oklahoma. If Wayne Fontes was still here, he would have said McDougle could "block out the sun." Turns out Stockar couldn't block his way out of a paper bag -- parchment paper, even.
Charles Rogers, 2003's #1 draft pick -- an amazingly talented receiver out of Michigan State.
Rogers is perilously close to being lumped into the above group.
Already, training camp just six days old, there's talk that Charlie Rogers is having trouble grasping the convoluted offensive schemes of new coordinator Mike Martz. He didn't participate in one single play yesterday, the scuttlebutt is. Whispers are floating around questioning Rogers' cranial capacity. Well, at least that's different; they used to question his commitment, his work ethic, his durability.
Charles Rogers: not smart enough to play in the NFL?
Now they wonder whether Charlie Rogers has the smarts to be a competent NFL receiver.
If I had some dough to toss away on a gamble, I'd place some cash that says Rogers will no longer be a Lion when the regular season begins next month against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field. Not traded, not placed on injured reserve, or the PUP list. Just ... cut.
Rogers and 2005's #1 pick, Mike Williams, were mentioned as the two players who had to have perhaps the two best training camps on the entire team. Both are under the microscope of doubt and skepticism.
Neither is impressing, by all accounts, and it's certainly fathomable that one of the two -- doubtful both of them -- will be released by the Lions within the month. My bet is on Rogers, because he's had a couple more seasons in Detroit than Williams. Yes, the Lions would have to chow down on Rogers' contract if they cut him, but as team president Matt Millen said last week, the club wouldn't hesitate to do that if it was for the betterment of the program.
Rogers' latest setback is yet another in a series. There was the freakish broken collarbone suffered midway through his rookie year in 2003, followed by the freakish broken collarbone suffered during the first series of the opening game in Chicago in 2004. Last year, Rogers was suspended for four games by the league for violating its substance abuse policy. Now the "he's not very smart, after all" training camp.
Too much to overcome? Certainly too much to blame the Lions, should they cut him.
Time is running out for Charles Rogers in Detroit. Odds are.