Skip to main content

Draft Central | 2024

Presented by

Coach's Corner: Justin Rogers' high value at Auburn


FRISCO, Texas — The eight draft picks for the Dallas Cowboys will make their way to The Star this weekend to officially put pen to paper on their rookie contracts and to participate in rookie minicamp, as their NFL careers sit on the verge of their beginnings.

Entering as a rookie brings a lot of excitement, but also a lot of expectation. Especially for the current Cowboys rookie class, there will be a need for immediate contributions from the majority of the draft picks.

In Coach's Corner, we reached out to each of the draftees' college position coaches to find out more about their development in college on and off the field, their fits in Dallas and how it coincided with their time in college, and what they might need to work on before touching the NFL field.

Next up is Auburn defensive tackle Justin Rogers, who we spoke to Auburn defensive tackles coach Vontrell King-Williams about regarding these topics.

Q: From the moment he arrived at Auburn from Kentucky, what could you sense from his work ethic to get on the field?

A: With Justin, what he brought to our program was instant credibility. He had done it in this league (SEC). He had transferred from Kentucky and was very productive. On the same token, we also let him know that just because you have done it in this league, you haven't done it at Auburn yet. He had to fight for a starting role and significant snaps and ultimately, that's what he did. He was a good mentor for our younger guys too.

Q: What would you say he improved on the most in his time with Auburn?

A: I think understanding the kind of pass rusher he was, not trying to do anything outside of his body. He's a big guy so he has to set everything up with power, and not try to do all of these cross-chops and those things. I think that was one of the things he focused on and then the second thing was becoming a leader. Being a leader that everyone wants and follows because of your actions. I feel like he did that, he matured pretty well in his year with us.

Q: His run-game ability and how he was able to clog up holes, how important was that for you guys?

A: Yeah, that was his strongest suit. That is what he did best. You turn on Georgia, you turn on Alabama, Arkansas, those teams that wanted to run the ball versus us, and we had a lot of success on defense because of him. It was vital for us. It is very rare that one man can block him one-on-one, so they have to do a bunch of different things offensively to try and gameplan around him. It was awesome having him there specifically for that.

Q: Specifically with the defensive tackle position, you have to marry technique and athleticism with that wide size at an eventual part of your career. Where would you say he has married that the best with his technique and athleticism?

A: I still feel he has a ways to go with his athleticism. When we got him, his technique was pretty solid from the jump – there were some things we had to finetune, but there were things we asked him to do that he had already done. From that piece, once he gets his body to where he needs to get it to – his weight more specifically – I think he's going to end up being a really good take for the Cowboys.

Q: You mentioned his pass rush earlier, where do you feel like he has the ability to reach his ceiling there?

A: He's a push the pocket kind of guy. When he does that, it's pretty hard to stop. When he starts going side-to-side and his feet stop going north – that's one thing that started getting tricky for him. Just knowing the kind of pass rusher that he is and sticking to that, which doesn't mean you can't get sexy every once in a while – as long as it's every once in a while. He still has a ways to go with that. I think he's going to mature at it because it meant something to him to work at it. I'm excited to see what they do with him down that way.

Q: What is his personality and mentality like off the field?

A: Justin is a quiet guy, man. He's a quiet, go-easy guy. He likes being around his teammates and having fun creating a team camaraderie. He's a real cool guy to be around off the field too. He's one of those dudes that you know when you want a d-tackle, you want him to be a gentle giant off the field, but then on the field you want him to flip that switch. He can do that. He's different on the field, but off the field he's just as easy to get along with as anybody.

Q: He was primarily a 1-Tech for you guys?

A: Yeah, primarily 1-Tech, some zero. We did some things where we put him in a 3-Technique, but he's primarily a run-stuffer 1-Technique, 0-Technique. That's what he's best at.

Q: What would you say he is still working on as he makes the jump to the NFL?

A: The biggest thing is going to be his body. I think the tell-tale of how his career goes is if he can control his weight and make sure that he has on a good weight and can move the way that we all know that he can. If he does that, if he takes care of his weight, I think he's going to be a guy that we hear about for years to come.

Related Content