by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Auburn University Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Auburn, Defensive Line, Justin Rogers
Name- Justin Rogers
Pos- Defensive Line
HT/WT- 6’3” 346 lbs.
Home – Detroit, MI
Justin Rogers attended Oak Park High School in Detroit, Michigan and was a star 2-way player. During his senior year, he did not allow a sack while on the offensive line and totaled 6 sacks on defense. He was named to the Detroit News Football Dream Team and the All-North Football team in 2019. He was ranked the no. 1 player in Michigan after starting for 4 years on both sides of the ball and committed to Kentucky during his senior year as a defensive tackle.
Rogers played in 7 games during his freshman season and totaled 9 tackles and 1 sack for the Wildcats and saw his playing time expand as a sophomore. He saw the field in 13 games, including 4 starts and helped clog up the running lanes, collecting 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
In 2022, the playing time increased even more for Rogers, starting 12 of 13 games for Kentucky. He finished the season with 33 tackles and 0.5 sacks. After the season, he entered the transfer portal and elected to move on to Auburn to finish out his eligibility.
This season, he played in 12 games for the Tigers in a rotational role and accumulated 16 tackles and 1 sack for Auburn.
Justin Rogers is an effective big man in the middle of a defensive line who plays with a low, wide base, anchoring himself and making it hard to move him. He has violent hands and once he gets leverage, he then controls the line of scrimmage. He offers some pass rushing ability up the middle and has a surprising burst for a big man. He has good footwork and mechanics to hit the holes and sustain blocks, freeing up linebackers to make plays.
On the downside, Rogers lacks the chasing ability to finish a lot of plays and sometimes plays without the “killer instincts” you want in a defensive player. He loses sight of the ball and battles with his head down. Stamina has also been an issue as the game goes on and until that improves he will be best served in a committee of defensive linemen. He holds up running backs more than he tackles them and will need to do better in wrapping up bigger and faster NFL running backs. He has played a little bit of edge at times, but this will not translate to the next level.
Justin Rogers reminds Draft 412 of Pittsburgh Steelers' 6th round pick in 2019 Isaiah Buggs. Buggs was drafted out of Alabama to add depth in the middle of the Steelers defensive line, but it never panned out. Since moving on to the Detroit Lions, Buggs has made a name for himself, adding 30 lbs. and has turned himself into a space eater. Rogers has the body but needs to translate it to the NFL, like Buggs has.
Explosive 1st step
Justin Rogers is a player many teams will look at later in the draft. He is most likely going to be a depth piece who, when needed, can give a team a start or two.
Draft 412 Projection- 6th or 7th round