Meet the Bucs rookies: Mount Union WR Roman Namdar
When it comes to small schools producing NFL talent at receiver, it's hard to top Division III Mount Union, which has 12 national titles and two success stories in receivers Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts.
Both have similar size -- Shorts is 6-0, 200 pounds and Garcia is 6-0, 210 -- and put up prolific numbers for the Purple Raiders. Shorts is second in Division III history with 63 career touchdon catches, and Garcon is right behind him at third with 60.
Can Roman Namdar be the next Mount Union receiver to find success in the NFL? The Bucs hope to find out, bringing him in for their rookie minicamp this weekend as a tryout player.
Namdar, like Garcon and Shorts, is 6 feet and 185 pounds, and in the last two years, even more prolific when it comes to finding the end zone. Garcon had 31 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Mount Union, and Shorts had 37 -- Namdar had 38, with 18 as a junior in 2014 and another 20 last fall as a senior, helping his team to a national championship.
Not bad for someone who went to Mount Union as a quarterback -- he was a backup on their 2012 national championship team -- and transitioned to receiver in a redshirt year in 2013 and made a splash the last two years.
"The challenge will be getting open against really, really good defensive backs," said Vince Kehres, Mount Union's head coach. "Roman does have very good speed. I think the biggest weakness in his game is that he just hasn't seen DBs at that level. It'll be a challenge adjusting to their speed and their abililty to come up and play press coverage. He needs to get into his routes so he can use his speed and quickness."
You can check out a nine-minute highlight video of Namdar's senior year, showing his quickness and good hands, as well as the level of defensive backs he was going up against.
Kehres credits Namdar's background as a quarterback with giving him a strong understanding of offensive schemes and knowing what a receiver should do against man coverage and against a zone, how quarterbacks adjust to defenses and what they look for.
The Bucs have solid returning options at receiver, led by Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Louis Murphy and Kenny Bell are coming back from injuries, and Adam Humphries is a year removed from doing what Namdar seeks to do, going from tryout player to undrafted rookie free agent to not only making the team but making a major contribution. Donteea Dye -- who played in the same D-3 conference at Heidelberg -- did the same thing last summer as well, so Namdar has tough odds ahead of him just to get a contract after this weekend.
"He's definitely well-prepared to compete and challenge," Kehres said. "I think he's ready and I think he'll do his best to take advantage of the opportunity."