Anybody seen this guy play? I saw he had five picks in a five game stretch last season. Nobody goes his way this season. He also returns punts and kicks (and blocks them too). Tuesday, 09/18/07 Scouts eye TSU star Senior corner could wind up first-round pick By MIKE ORGAN Staff Writer The Tennessean Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has played in front of a total of almost 90,000 fans in Tennessee State's first three football games. That's a lot for a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team, yet Rodgers-Cromartie, a senior cornerback and kick returner, is unfazed. As for the five NFL scouts who already have come to see him in action, that's a different story. "You know they're there, and it has an effect on you," said Rodgers-Cromartie, whose next chance to be seen will be 6 p.m. Saturday when the Tigers play at Southern. "You want to play well in front of them, and you wonder what they're thinking about you." Rodgers-Cromartie hasn't disappointed. After a couple of solid performances in TSU's first two games, a 49-23 loss to Alabama A&M and a 16-13 victory over Jackson State, he came up big Saturday at Austin Peay. In the 33-32 overtime win over the Governors, Rodgers-Cromartie set the offense up in overtime to score the winning touchdown and extra-point kick by blocking the Govs' extra-point kick. Beyond the numbers Other than already having blocked two kicks, Rodgers-Cromartie's numbers are quite ordinary so far — eight tackles, four pass breakups, 22.8-yard kickoff return average — but the scouts who have seen him play are there to do more than pick up the statistical summary at the end of the game. So far, representatives from the Jets, Browns, Cardinals, Jaguars and Bengals have checked on Rodgers-Cromartie. "We've been impressed by his size and his natural athletic skills," Cardinals scout Jerry Hardaway said. "It's rare that you see corners with his size (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) that can gear down and redirect like he can. That's what has impressed me. "He has all the physical intangibles you look for." It has been difficult at times for the scouts to get a good read on Rodgers-Cromartie because opposing offenses have gone out of their way to steer away from him. "Even though they aren't throwing at me, I feel like I'm making plays in other areas," said Rodgers-Cromartie, whose 40-yard speed is in the 4.3-4.4 range. "As long as I stay disciplined and stay in my zone, that's all I can do until I get an opportunity." Total picture Scouts will continue to keep an eye on Rodgers-Cromartie no matter how much action comes his way. Several have reserved seats in the press box at Southern for Saturday's games. "He looks like he's a pretty good athlete," said Joey Clinkscales, a former Tennessee wide receiver who is a Jets scout. "You may not always be tested in the game as far as balls coming your way, but it's how well you interact with your teammates, how well you play against the run. "It's a total picture that goes into our projecting of a prospect." Since teams scheme to stay away from Rodgers-Cromartie in games, some scouts choose instead to attend TSU practices. There they can observe him in drills and see how well he follows instruction from his coaches. When scouts talk to TSU defensive backs coach Randy Fuller, he rarely is at a loss for words. In fact, Fuller has said since the end of last season that he believes Rodgers-Cromartie could be a first-round pick in the next NFL Draft. "Of course, we still have a long season ahead of us, but so far he's doing all the necessary things to keep himself in the driver's seat," said Fuller, a former TSU defensive back who spent six seasons playing in the NFL. "This biggest thing is, with all the receivers being 6-3 and taller nowadays, with him being 6-2, of course he falls right in the lap for what NFL teams want from a height standpoint."