By Curt Macysyn
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Cornerback – #21
Weight: 193 lbs.
Hometown: Bradenton, FL
College: Tennessee State
Experience: 7 years
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is no stranger to MetLife Stadium. In fact, Rodgers-Cromartie played there twice last season, once in a 45-23 victory over the New York Giants early last season. The second time, when he and his Denver Broncos teammates came to the Big Apple for Super Bowl XLVIII, the speedy cornerback from Tennessee State by way of Bradenton, Fla., suffered a devastating loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL title game. In that contest, Rodgers-Cromartie registered only a single tackle, as Denver was manhandled by Seattle 43-8, in what became a crushing end to the 2014 NFL season.
A couple months later, when free agency came around, DRC did not shy away from returning to the scene of the crime as he was courted by both the New York Jets and New York Giants in early March. The Giants ended up winning the bidding war with a back weighted five-year, $35 million contract to become the team’s shutdown corner. According to the website OverTheCap.com, Rodgers-Cromartie’s contract “contains $11.98 million in fully guaranteed salary including a $10 million signing bonus,” numbers that demonstrate how much of an investment New York has made in the veteran cornerback.
Naysayers will point out that DRC is now on his third team in the past three years, and fourth overall, since being the 16th overall pick of the 2008 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals included Rodgers-Cromartie in their ill-advised trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb, and he stumbled out of the gate with Philadelphia, starting in only three of 13 games in 2011. But Rodgers-Cromartie bounced back in 2012, starting all 16 games for the Eagles and registering the most tackles in his career with 51.
A change in the coaching staff, from Andy Reid to Chip Kelly, hastened his exit from the City of Brotherly Love and placed him in Denver on a one-year deal. And after the Super Bowl loss Rodgers-Cromartie was looking to cash in for cementing his reputation as a shutdown corner, so when the G-men came calling, DRC was more than happy to trade his Orange Crush for Big Blue.
In an interview posted by Giants.com during the first week of practice, Rodgers-Cromartie was optimistic about the defense, but not over the top as many cornerbacks can get, when he stated, “I think we will be real good, even the linebackers. Going through practice, watching film and seeing how they get in their drops and react. I can tell it’s going to be a fast defense that flies around and get to the ball.”
Even though Rodgers-Cromartie will be looked upon as a leader of a unit that could be one of the NFL’s best, he realizes that it takes more than one player to form a defense. “I‘d just like to give an understanding of what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. This team has done it so they definitely know that. You blend all of that together and put everyone’s mind together and go from there. I think I can make it better for a team atmosphere as far as learning how to go out there and do the right thing,” DRC said.
Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.