Rodriguez deserves a shot
Although Prechae Rodriguez has officially worn out his welcome with two professional squads in just shy of three calendar years, there is very little doubt that the former Auburn Tiger has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the CFL. The fact that Rodriguez remains available on the free agent market when there are games to be played is utterly astounding.
Standing 6'5", Rodriguez is a massive target for any quarterback. Considering that he has the speed and athleticism to get open down-field with ease and the ability to make defenders miss in the open field, Rodriguez is a rare specimen in the world of professional football and could certainly make a huge impact on any team he suits up for.
Since entering the CFL as an undrafted rookie with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats prior to the 2008 CFL season Rodriguez has been considered one of the league’s most promising players, so when news broke that the Saskatchewan Roughriders had acquired the youthful wide out in a trade with Hamilton excitement throughout the prairies naturally followed suit.
With Darian Durant, one of the league’s most dangerous signal callers, orchestrating an offence that included the most dangerous stable of skill-players in the league, 2010 was poised to be one of the brightest years in franchise history. With Rob Bagg, Wes Cates, Jason Clermont, Weston Dressler, Andy Fantuz and Chris Getzlaf already established stars in the CFL, many fans thought that the addition of Rodriguez would turn the already powerful Roughriders’ offence into one of the most dangerous units in the league’s storied history.
Of course, things are rarely as easy as they appear at first glance.
Despite a shaky preseason that saw an out-of-sorts Rodriguez drop a number of catchable balls and appear generally confused in the elaborate Roughrider offence, the 2008 East Division’s most outstanding rookie remained one of the most promising Roughrider newcomers heading into the 2010 CFL regular season and expectations remained sky-high that Rodriguez’s presence would only help to elevate the Roughriders offence to a whole new, unprecedented level.
As a member of the Green and White it didn’t take long for coaches, players, and fans alike to realize that Rodriguez may not be a good fit for the already-proficient Saskatchewan offence. Despite Rodriguez being an exceptional player in his own right, the Roughriders failed to find a role for Rodriguez that could see the Tampa, Florida native reach his tremendous potential.
Although Rodriguez possesses the size and abilities to be one of the league’s most daunting skill players, Durant never developed a consistent chemistry with the lanky wideout. Head coach Ken Miller and offensive coordinator Doug Berry could never seem to find an appropriate role for Rodriguez; at times going quarters on end without as much as a look and at times targeting the former Tiger-Cat at the expense of the rest of the offence.
After only seven games and 17 receptions with the Green and White, the Roughriders, in a controversial decision, parted ways with Rodriguez to make roster space for running back Hugh Charles and special teams ace Ryan Grice-Mullen.
From a production standpoint it would be easy to call Rodriguez’s time in Saskatchewan a bust, but despite not posting gaudy statistics and failing to play out the duration of his contract, Rodriguez still has the ability to be one of the league’s scariest offensive weapons.
In a league based almost exclusively on being able to efficiently move the ball through the air, it seems incomprehensible that a proven wide receiver who possesses both extraordinary size and at times jaw-dropping abilities like Rodriguez is yet to be picked up by a CFL franchise – especially with a number of teams still struggling to pass the football, make big plays, and finish drives heading into the postseason.