Amari Rodgers will be great fun in Green Bay

Knowing they had to take a wide receiver at some point in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers used a third-round pick to select Amari Rodgers out of Clemson. Originally slated to pick at 92, the Packers traded to select Rodgers at 85, showing just how much they covet the productive ACC receiver.

In four years at Clemson, Rodgers recorded 181 receptions, 2,144 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. It was named the first all-conference team in 2020 after posting career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns. Rodgers also showed value on special teams, returning 68 punts for 529 yards and a touchdown. Now Green Bay expects Rodgers to bring his wide range of skills to the NFL.

At just 5-9, you can expect Rodgers to take much of his slot shots. However, Rodgers has a very compact build, almost built like a 212-pound runner.

“When you see him, when you stand on top of him, he’s not a little man. He’s just not tall, ”said Managing Director Brian Gutekunst.

Before taking on Rodgers, the Packers have targeted a specific type of wide receiver in previous years. Usually you had to be tall, long and quick. However, Rodgers is short and stocky with decent speed and better quickness. He’s a different kind of receiver that Green Bay’s offense has been missing since Randall Cobb. Yes, well, a Randall Cobb type back in green and gold.

Today we dig deeper into Clemson’s Rodgers movie. Hopefully to better understand what it will bring to the attack of Matt LaFleur. Let’s go dig.

Let’s talk about speed first. Rodgers ran in the 4.5s on his pro day, but that shouldn’t be a big concern. He’s faster than quick, but a lack of speed certainly isn’t a blow to his game.

On this vertical concept, Rodgers has nearly five meters of separation. If a corner is caught off guard, it will make them pay.

Here’s another similar route concept that puts Rodgers in a vantage point using his speed. Notice how, as the ball approaches, it is able to generate a late split to facilitate capture. Impressive acceleration helps Rodgers avoid a contested grip, but he’s always shown tremendous athleticism to carry him.

From a mental point of view, Rodgers is a very intelligent player. The coaches are delighted with his work ethic and it is evident that he takes his profession very seriously. Early in his career, Rodgers understood covers and how to attack them. Here against zone, it traverses a punctual road in the middle and snuggles in it. On the third and short, this is how you move the strings.

Another example of Rodgers’ beat zone. Rodgers is in no rush, so Trevor Lawrence can get to his deployment and make a pitch on time. Meanwhile, Rodgers runs a perfectly paced exit run to enter the weak spot between the turn and safety. This kind of awareness will come in handy, whether on script or off script.

Rodgers fits perfectly into the mold of the gadget role previously occupied by Tyler Ervin. It has been implemented in many creative ways at Clemson, including quick screens, endings around, and more. LaFleur should have no problem figuring out ways to pass the ball to Rodgers.

A simple but effective bubble screen. Rodgers catches the ball and wastes no time going down. He’s an efficient runner who shows good playing strength and competitive tenacity to fight for every yard when he has the ball. In this aspect, he really has the mindset of a running back.

Another great example of Rodgers in the quick game with a nice stiff arm at the end. Packers fans will love his ability to break tackles.

This gadget game has LaFleur written all over it. Bad orientation and illusion of complexity.

Does this remind you of anyone? As we can see, Rodgers has a decent move after the catch. The Packers’ ability to create yards after the catch will immediately improve with Rodgers in the attack. Plus, those last few plays showed us what Rodgers might be able to do as a punt returner. Using his playing strength and agility, he can perform arm tackles, hit a guy with minimal space, and even throw a stiff arm.

We’ve seen a bit of Rodgers’ ability as a road racer, and honestly that’s one of the most intriguing parts of his game. He can quickly come out of his breaks and run clean routes.

Exhibit A:

Not all passing will be on money, and Rodgers has shown his ability to snatch balls out of frame. Here’s an example in the clip below.

We’ve also seen Rodgers exhibit excellent body control. He’s comfortable leaving his feet and doing amazing takes like this:

There is certainly a scenario where Rodgers does a back shoulder grab like the one above during his time at Green Bay. Just a superb display of athleticism and concentration.

Above are a few examples of Rodgers as a tackle. He has good tools, but he’s not overly polite as he runs into issues with hand placement, body positioning, and footwork. But man, that says a lot about a guy who’s ready to compete as a blocker at his size. That kind of attitude and effort will bode well for Rodgers to the next level.

It’s time to talk about some downsides. Rodgers is not a perfect player. For one thing, he doesn’t have a ton of experience constantly pounding press coverage. Its length certainly puts it at a disadvantage. Length issues also hamper him in contested capture situations. Above we see Rodgers doing a good job protecting his body from the defender, but at the point of capture the ball is pushed back. Rodgers’ lack of arm length could cause him problems when he can’t go their separate ways.

It would have been an extremely difficult hold, but it was catchable – and longer arms probably would have helped. If Rodgers can continue to get stronger at the point of capture, he will be much more effective as a downstream threat.

After reviewing his movie, it’s not hard to see why the Packers were intrigued by Rodgers’ wide range of skills. It doesn’t look like what they’ve been targeting in recent years and that should get fans excited, as it should be their first real slots presence since Cobb. At first, it won’t be difficult for LaFleur to find ways to implement it into the attack with simple designs and occasional gadget games. This will maximize Rodgers’ play and allow him to fulfill a similar role he served in college. In his rookie year, Rodgers could make a decent impact, but as he continues to learn offense and adjust to the size and speed of other NFL players, he has a good chance of become an extremely versatile weapon with a bright future.

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