The Green Bay Packers will have at least one A. Rodgers on the team this season.
With reports swirling over the past couple of days that reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers does not want to return to Green Bay in 2021, the Packers spent their third-round pick on Amari Rodgers, selecting the former Clemson receiver with the No. 85 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night.
Rodgers became the highest-picked Packers wide receiver since the franchise took Davante Adams in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft, per ESPN Stats and Info.
During ABC’s coverage of the draft, host Rece Davis and analyst Kirk Herbstreit speculated about whether the Packers’ pick of Amari Rodgers will appease Aaron Rodgers enough to stick around in Green Bay now that he would have another weapon at his disposal.
“I’m wondering if this A. Rodgers made that A. Rodgers that’s already there happy,” Davis said.
“He will when he meets him and sees his work ethic,” Herbstreit responded.
Amari Rodgers’ work ethic is one of the biggest reasons why the Packers grabbed him, along with the football smarts and intangibles he has as the son of former Tennessee Vols legend Tee Martin, who is now the wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
“You grow up with Tee Martin, who played at Tennessee. He’s become a great coach,” Herbstreit said when discussing Rodgers on ABC. “You’re a coach’s son, you bring the intangibles to the table. One of the hardest-working receivers you’re going to meet.”
The versatility Rodgers has to offer is another appealing aspect of his game that presumably drew the Packers toward him.
A former four-star recruit, Rodgers played both running back and wide receiver during his high school career in Tennessee and ran through some running back drills at Clemson’s Pro Day, as well as caught punts for scouts after the workout.
“Amari brings a lot of energy, a lot of passion,” Herbstreit said, “and again, because he’s built like a running back, you can move him around and do a lot of different things with him as well.”
Rodgers’ versatility was on full display in his four seasons at Clemson, where he became only the fifth Tiger since 2000 to record touchdowns by rush, reception and punt return in a career.
The Knoxville, Tenn., native completed his Clemson career ranked sixth in school history in career receptions, 12th in career receiving yards and tied for 14th in career receiving touchdowns, as well as ninth in career punt return yards.
ESPN analyst Todd McShay envisions Rodgers being deployed by the Packers in a similar fashion to how he was utilized at Clemson.
“They lost over 2,800 receiving yards with the three receivers that they lost from the previous year, and they needed to count on him to do everything,” McShay said during ABC’s coverage of the draft. “He had to play the X, he had to play the Y, he played slot. They moved him around. He did a little bit of everything, and that’s exactly what I think he’s going to do at the next level now.”
Following a remarkable comeback from injury in 2019, when he tore his ACL in the spring but returned to action 166 days later in the second week of the season, Rodgers recorded a career year as a senior in 2020 when he recorded career highs in receptions (77), receiving yards (1,020) and receiving touchdowns (seven) en route to earning first-team All-ACC honors and being named a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.
“Being the son of a football coach, Amari has a very high football IQ, and that allows him to do a lot of different things,” ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said. “Tony Elliott would use him as a chess piece in that offense for Clemson, and he would always deliver. As Kirk said, after the ACL, he probably lost a step. But he made up for that in his intelligence, his quickness, his burst, and what he brought as a leader to that team.”
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