The Green Bay Packers went 13-3 last season, won the NFC North and reached the NFC Championship Game for a second straight year. The Packers lost to Tampa Bay, though, 31-26, in the conference title game and the offseason has been packed with drama.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, but the Packers have insisted they won’t move him. Stay tuned for more theatrics there in the days ahead.
With or without Rodgers, Green Bay will start training camp on July 27. Throughout the rest of the month, I will count down the ‘30 Most Important Packers’ heading into the 2021 campaign.
At No. 28 is rookie wide receiver/return man Amari Rodgers. The other players that have been revealed in the top-30 are listed at the bottom of the story.
WR Amari Rodgers
Bio: The Packers gave up their third-round pick and one of their fourth-rounders in a trade with Tennessee to move up in the third round and select Rodgers.
The Packers have always had an affinity for bigger receivers and had an unwritten rule that they wouldn’t draft a receiver under 5-foot-10. But the 5-9 ½”, 212-pound Rodgers was potentially too dynamic to pass up.
Rodgers caught 77 passes for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in 2020. Rodgers finished his Clemson career with 181 receptions for 2,144 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Rodgers averaged 7.7 yards per punt return during his Clemson career. He’s also one of only five Clemson players since 2000 to score touchdowns by rush, reception and punt return in his career.
In addition, Rodgers ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds and recorded a 30-1/2” vertical jump.
Outlook: The Packers haven’t had a legitimate slot receiver since Randall Cobb left after the 2018 season. Cobb, a second-round pick in 2011, was just 5-foot-10 himself, but had 470 receptions and 41 touchdowns as a Packer.
Rodgers could be a dynamic weapon in the slot, and also help in the return game, which has been a problem in Green Bay for years.
“He fills so many holes for us and that’s one of the reasons I think that why we traded up for him was because, you know, not only as a punt returner and a slot receiver, but as you guys have seen over the past couple years the creativity that (coach) Matt (LaFleur) has within his offense, some of the jet sweeps and screens. I think he’s, obviously he’s a 212-pound receiver. He’s not one of these smaller guys. So I think kick returning could be part of his arsenal, as well. So I think he’s just built for us. He’s built for up here in Green Bay and he’s just a very versatile player, very smart player and we’re just really glad to add him to the roster.” — Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst on Rodgers
“I think without a doubt he’s going to do some cool things for us this upcoming year. I think any time you have a young player, there’s always this kind of process of them trying to learn this new system and there’s ups and downs with it. It’s easier in the beginning and then once more of the system gets put on, they start thinking almost too much. I think Amari’s doing a very good job. He’s not intimidated by what we’re handing to him. He’s a student of the game and you can see that. He’s got a natural feel to the game in these limited reps. I think that’s only going to develop with time and I’m excited about the progress that he’s making. But, you know, for any rookie there’s still major growing, growing process and learning curve. But it’s exciting to see him just slowly develop here. The more practices we can get, the better he’s going to be.” — Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on Rodgers
“I have that running back mentality, that background. I played running back my whole life until my junior year of high school. I definitely have that mentality. When I get the ball, I’m trying to get north and south to the end zone. I’m not trying to get tackled by one person. Because I know every inch of the game, it pays a difference. The more yards you get every time you touch the ball, that’s better for you. That’s really my mentality when I get the rock.” — Rodgers on his run-after-catch ability