Packers Deep Dive - Third Round Draft Pick Amari Rodgers

The Packers moved up and drafted Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers in the 3rd round. A lot of people are calling him Randall Cobb 2.0, but is that really accurate? Let's talk about what kind of player Amari Rodgers really is. 

The Packers finally picked a receiver.

And, in true Gutekunst form, they traded up to get him.

With pick 85, the Packers selected Amari Rodgers, a wide receiver from Clemson. It was the highest pick the Packers have used on a receiver since Davante Adams in 2014 and it was the highest pick Gutekunst has ever used on a wide receiver since becoming GM.

In addition to breaking the Packers recent form on draft position for receivers, he also broke the form of the perceived measurement thresholds for Packers receivers.

While LaFleur seems to favor taller receivers (both from his other career stops and from the fact that the only three receivers Gutekunst has ever drafted for him were 6'3, 6'4, and 6'5), Rodgers, at 5'10, is a full 5 inches shorter than all the other receivers the Packers have drafted in the last four years.

His selection was a little out of the norm for Green Bay, and, since there were 12 other receivers taken before him, it's clear he's not perfect.

So let's get a couple things out of the way:

  • He's short
  • He doesn't have elite speed

Those are the knocks.

But there's a lot more that a receiver can do besides run super fast and be tall, so let's get to the good stuff. 

With a compact, powerful build at 5'10, 210, Rodgers put up 24 reps on the bench press. For comparison, his new teammate Za'Darius Smith (who is 6'4, 275) put up 23 reps at the combine

The guy is strong and hard to bring down.

He powers through arm tackles without slowing. If a defender doesn't totally square up and hit the target perfect, Rodgers plows forward for a couple extra yards at the end of every play.  

He's very productive getting the ball in a hurry on quick passes and breaking tackles off the line. I'd love to see him get the ball out in space with Josiah Deguara running in front to lay a block.

With the mobile linemen the Packers have assembled, Rodgers should give them a new chapter in the playbook with plays like this.

The Packers have good receivers. Davante Adams is an All Pro with a killer release, MVS is a deep threat, and Allen Lazard is a big possession receiver, but Amari Rodgers is something completely different.

He gives the Packers something that their offense (which, I remind you, was number 1 in the NFL last year) something that they don't currently have: a uniquely gifted, powerful slot receiver.

Since he's different, everyone wants to compare him to someone. A lot of people are calling him Randall Cobb 2.0, but Cobb won with quickness, not power. He can play a Tyler Ervin role, but Ervin relied on speed and wasn't as physical. I see Amari Rodgers as more of an upgraded Ty Montgomery or, dare I say, a poor man's Sterling Sharpe. In the pre-draft process, I kept thinking of him as another Deebo Samuel.

It's hard to find a comp because he's such a unique player.

There aren't a lot of guys playing receiver with his kind of power, especially at his size.

That's what makes it such an exciting pick for the Packers.

And his game is about a lot more than just his strength.

He's quicker than he is fast, meaning he has a burst to his game when it comes to those quick passes.

That burst comes in handy in the vertical game, too.

Rodgers doesn't have that field-stretching speed, but he can still get deep. He runs good routes and has a natural ability to adjust, leaning into or away from defenders to make space, while staying in line on his route. He doesn't have a big catch radius or great leaping ability, but he uses those maneuvers to create separation and he's fantastic at adjusting to the ball. If a pass is away from his body or even on the wrong side, he can twist in a blink and snatch almost effortlessly from any angle.

His hands are great, too. Sure, every month or two, he'll drop an easy one, but those are definitely outliers (and let's face it, even Davante Adams does that). 

When Amari Rodgers catches, he always catches with his hands. And the instant the ball touches his fingertips, he's already in a quick, smooth motion to bring it in and start running. He has one of the prettiest catch and secure motions in this class. He's so fluid and natural bringing the ball in.

Once he has the ball, he can do serious damage in the open field. Aside from powering past guys, he has natural vision to run away from pursuit angles, allowing him to play faster than he times.

He brings a lot to the table: separation burst in his routes, great hands, run after catch ability, and some power.

Matt LaFleur is gonna love this new toy.

 

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @PackersForTheWn.

 

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Comments (18)

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Minniman's picture

May 04, 2021 at 03:19 pm

This type of pick wasn’t a total surprise.

Anyone following Dusty’s passing chronicles articles last year would recognise that a key piece of MLF’s scheme is players in motion.

The Packers were a far more potent offense when the small, shifty Tyler Erwin was healthy and active.

I’m really excited to see what the ‘other’ A Rodgers brings to that space - an infusion of youth at this position was needed.

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packerbackerjim's picture

May 04, 2021 at 03:28 pm

He should help MLF keep the opposing defenses guessing.

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TheBigCheeze's picture

May 04, 2021 at 03:48 pm

....all of this is moot if A. Rodgers the QB is not included....no Aaron Rodgers, no Championship.....book it!!!

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stockholder's picture

May 04, 2021 at 03:53 pm

Honesty is the best policy.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 04, 2021 at 04:39 pm

No guarantee even if Rodger's was back. In past 3 or 4 seasons Rodgers played great last year. Would he in 2021?

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stockholder's picture

May 04, 2021 at 03:54 pm

Everybody went to Clemson and said there's Are guy. I said Gute would trade away pick 135 and he did. To move up 6 spots. For thats are guy. Simply amazing. But praise GUTE. He's Cobb. A new toy. And regardless what he does. He'll be on the roster till his contract runs out. I'm going to tell you I'm happy he got a WR. A year late. But I'm happy we got a WR. Very Happy. Why? I don't have to watch a unknown come on the team. And here he's the best thing since sliced bread. Only to get cut.

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splitpea1's picture

May 04, 2021 at 04:11 pm

He can play the Tyler Ervin role, but hopefully more receiver, less decoy, and more TDs.

Let's see how well he does returning kicks, as it would be nice to finally find a solution here.

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stockholder's picture

May 04, 2021 at 04:17 pm

Yep then I can compare him to. Dazz Newsome!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 04, 2021 at 04:41 pm

He might be built similar to Ty Montgomery but let's hope Rodgers is smarter than the Stanford Alum when returning kicks. Just saying!

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4thandinches's picture

May 04, 2021 at 05:58 pm

I'm pretty excited to see how MLF is going to use this kid! I think he's going to perform much better than Ervin and Austin did in that role; particularly once he's got a year or two under his belt.

I like that's he's stout for a slot receiver too! Hopefully that'll help his body hold up on those crossers over the middle.

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PhantomII's picture

May 05, 2021 at 05:54 am

He's gonna perform day 1. He's going to start day 1 because he's our #2 WR we've been waiting for. Maybe not as tall as normal but built like a RB and has that type of vision to set up tacklers for misses like a RB. If he stays healthy, we're in business. I like the thought of mixing him, Jones and Hill into different pass plays/ options. ML get it going.

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Swisch's picture

May 04, 2021 at 06:03 pm

Wow, this deep dive has me even more excited about our new slot receiver!
His being unique reminds me of A. J. Dillon being different than just about everyone else in his own way.
That may be somewhat true of Jenkins and Deguara, as well, and even Jordan Love.
There may be others picked by the Packers recently who tend to break the mold. Our new defensive tackle, if he gets his weight right, may also be unusually versatile for his position.
Perhaps more knowledgeable fans here at CHTV than I can think of more examples.
It seems our GM not only likes to get players that fit the approach of his head coach, but that come with an extraordinary combination of qualities in one person.
My sense of things is that the Packers have a vision and a creativity being built year by year that is going to produce several seasons of excellence.
We have one Rodgers as a rookie who wants to play for the Packers and figures to be a huge part of this fantastic run.
It seems sadly unlikely, but if there's still a chance that our Rodgers who is a veteran would show a good measure of humility, it'd be great to have him back to share in the good times.
If our wayward quarterback could open up and get genuinely enthusiastic about being more involved with the team (perhaps even being willing to take a salary cut to a still hefty $30 million or so), he could have a wonderful few years left leading the Packers to heights incredibly rewarding.

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nostradanus's picture

May 04, 2021 at 06:41 pm

Love love love this kid and.......he’s a punt returner:)

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flackcatcher's picture

May 04, 2021 at 06:44 pm

Deep a deep breath folks. In MLF scheme the slot gets around ten snaps per game. Now maybe that goes up a bit if the run game is pushed harder. Still, once again Gute went and fill a large gap in MLF offense. (By the way, the video cuts do not even come close to how dynamic Rodgers is out on the field. This guy is special)

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PackMann's picture

May 04, 2021 at 08:00 pm

Great write up! Had concerns about all of these mighty midget receivers in this draft class but I'll take the receiver that can bench press more than a DL anytime! Now, if we can only convince AR to come on out and toss some balls to the kid! ;-)

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PackMann's picture

May 04, 2021 at 10:35 pm

Wow! This kid is a beast! The more I read about him, the more I like him!

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HankScorpio's picture

May 05, 2021 at 05:42 am

"It was the highest pick the Packers have used on a receiver since Davante Adams in 2014"

I hope that can be written again next year to describe another draft pick, It's time to get serious about preparing for life without Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers. I'm not looking forward to that day. Both are great players. But time marches on and that day is inevitable. It's obvious the Packers agree given their last two drafts. I think that is a good thing. I just hope they continue, like TT did. He drafted Rodgers and followed it up with Terrance Murphy, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley in consecutive years. Say what you want about TT at the end of his tenure. He was one of the best in the biz at the beginning of it. For things like that.

As for Amari Rodgers, I cannot remember getting as excited about a draft pick I didn't want them to make. He was not on the roster of WRs that made their way into my draft sims. There were a bunch of names on that list, too. It took about 60 seconds after the pick was made for me to get over that. I cannot wait to see what #8 can do on the football field.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 05, 2021 at 10:01 am

I’ll be surprised if he gets 30 targets this year.

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