Dec 28, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders wide receiver Eric Ward (18) rushes against Minnesota Gophers defensive back Troy Stoudemire (2) in the first half of the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
#22 Troy Stoudemire, Cornerback
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
High School: Skyline
Height / Weight: 5-10 / 195
Position: Defensive Back
There is good reason to be intrigued with Minnesota’s Troy Stoudemire. He holds the NCAA career kick return yardage record with 3,615. He actually switched between receiver and cornerback his first three seasons before moving primarily to defense this past season, so not having a defined position really hurt his stock, even though he had some flashes on a rather putrid Golden Gophers defense this past season.
Part of the reason Sotudermire went undrafted was due to his unordinary time spent in college. He had 1,083 return yards in 2008, 1,057 in ’09, but managed just added 789 yards as a junior. Then he missed the final eight games during his senior season (’11) with an injury and received a medical redshirt before returning this past season.
In 2012, Sotudermire started all 12 games for the Gophers, and was used more exclusively on defense, leading the team in tackles (82) and solo tackles (59) while notching 513 yards on 22 kickoff returns (23.3 avg). He also became the holder of the NCAA career kick return yardage (3,615 yards).
Frankly, the Bengals need someone to come in and take some pressure off of Adam Jones on return duties, and get Brandon Tate off of them completely. I don’t foresee Stoudermire making the opening 53-man roster, but he’s an interesting player to watch develop in the coming years.
In looking at who will likely be on the Bengals 53-man roster when the 2013 NFL season opens, Geoff Hobson believes incumbent wide receiver/return-man Tate’s job as the primary kickoff returner could be had, and Stoudemire is a name he brought up as someone who could potentially challenge Tate:
"Rookie free agent Troy Stoudermire is an NCAA return record-holder at Minnesota, but he’s got a steep climb to conquer at cornerback. It is the opener and Tate has given the Bengals two solid years back there even if ’12 wasn’t as spectacular as ’11."
While he never be a starter, his abilities on special teams and a fourth of fifth cornerback may earn him a spot on the roster for depth on defense and special teams.
"Stoudermire has good straight-line speed with the physical nature to hold up in bump-and-run coverage, but he needs to do a better job turning his head and locating the ball downfield. Listed at only 5-10, Stoudermire lacks ideal size for the position and looks maxed-out physically, but he doesn’t shy from contact in run support. He is more of an athlete than technically-refined cornerback, but his raw speed and return ability will give him a chance at the next level, probably as an undrafted free agent."
"STRENGTHS – Stoudermire is a tough and highly competitive cornerback, which has helped him to produce at a high level despite his height and lack of experience at the position. He consistently gets hands on receiver quickly at the line to slow receiver’s release from “press” alignment and is able to flip hips to stay on receiver’s hip. Natural timing, good ball skills and an explosive closing have helped him to break-up a lot of passes . For a cornerback with such little experience, he really showed football intelligence.WEAKNESSES – Obviously, at 5’9 Stoudermire lacks the ideal height and cannot consistently make plays to keep tall receivers from catching passes even when he is in good coverage position. Additionally, he lacks the strength to get receiver off “stem” and strong receivers are able to push-off to create separation. According to sources, he needs to prove that he has the maturity to handle being a professional athlete."