Green Bay Packers

Return of the YAC: Packers snag Amari Rodgers in third round

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The Green Bay Packers selected Amari Rodgers with the 85th overall pick. Let’s take a look at what the Clemson wide receiver can bring to Green Bay’s offense.

With no wide receivers under contract following the 2021-2022 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers needed to address the wide receiver position in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Green Bay general manager, Brian Gutekunst got his man in the third round by trading up to select Clemson’s, Amari Rodgers. 

“He fills so many holes for us,” Gutekunst said. “That’s one of the reasons why we traded up for him. Not only as a punt returner and a slot receiver but as you guys have seen over the past couple of years the creativity that Matt (LaFleur) has within his offense. Some of the jet sweeps and screens.”

In 2018, Rodgers hauled in 55 receptions for 575 yards and four touchdowns. As a junior, Rodgers posted 426 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Rodgers showed off his versatility by rushing for a touchdown and averaged 8.4 yards per punt return. 

This past season Rodgers led the Tigers in receptions (77) and receiving yards (1,020). Rodgers also hauled in seven receiving touchdowns.

Rodgers is a slot wide receiver that can impact the game in a variety of ways. He can be used out of the backfield as a running back and he can be utilized on jet-sweeps.

During Clemson’s pro day, Dabo Swinney, the Clemson head coach said that Rodgers is the prototypical slot receiver with his size. However, he does believe that Rodgers is capable of playing out on the boundary at the next level. 

“He played outside his first two years,” Swinney said. “That’s where he started for us. We moved him to the slot. He did a great job the last two years. He’s got great tape. He’s a prototypical slot guy…good short-area quickness. He’s got good collusion balance…High football IQ…Yards after contact…you see that over and over and over…he’s a guy that’s ready-made. He’ll be ready to play…he’s technically advanced.”

The name of the game with Rodgers is to get the ball in his hands and let him go to work.  After the catch, he is a terror with the ball in his hands. The three-year starter rarely goes down on first contact, creating yards after the catch.

“Just being able to get the ball in my hands any way possible,” Rodgers said. “I see myself as a guy that can line up in any position. On the outside or the inside. In the backfield.”

Rodgers looks like a running back and has a violent running style. With his toughness and 4.44 speed, Rodgers is capable of turning a simple tunnel screen into a big gainer. According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers averaged 8.3 yards after the catch this past season. 

“I did play running back my whole life,” Rodgers said during Clemson’s pro day.. “I have that background. Whenever I get the ball I try to score…It’s going to take two or three guys to take me down…It’s just my mindset. I just want to score every time I get the ball in my hands.”

As a route runner, Rodgers improved each season at Clemson. He shows twitch in his routes and explodes in and out of his breaks.

“He’s kind of been a pro from an early age,” Gutekunst said. “He’s very polished as a route runner and what they do there at Clemson.

Matt LaFleur and his staff demand that wide receivers be good run blockers. Rodgers may be undersized, but he’s more than capable in that department. 

The Packers are going to be able to utilize Rodgers in a variety of ways. He can line up in the slot or out on the boundary. He can take snaps at running back. He provides special teams value as a return man.

There is no doubt that he would add an extra dimension to the Packers’ offense that was one of the most efficient in the league last season while boosting Green Bay’s return game.

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