With their third-round pick (98th overall, compensatory) in the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Richard Rodgers, TE, Cal-Berkeley
Richard Rodgers, TE, Cal-Berkeley 6’4″, 245 lbs
Father, Richard Sr., was involved in “The Play” in the 1982 Cal-Stanford game. . . also played basketball as a Massachusetts prep. . .recruited as a tight end. . .Started 6-of-11 games played in ’12 and caught 20 balls for 288 yards (14.4-yard average) and a touchdown. . .2013: missed time recovering from a torn labrum, played 11 games and pulled in 39-608-1 (15.6)
4.87 40 yard dash, 16 reps on the bench, 31.5-inch vertical, 9 foot, 8-inch broad jump
SCOUTING REPORT (NFL.com and CBSSports.com):
Strengths: Lanky athlete who has proven the ability to manipulate his weight to fit his team’s offensive scheme. Very good initial quickness for the position, demonstrating the ability to beat defenders upfield with his burst or to gain the advantage while blocking, including on cut-blocks. Long arms and soft hands. Gathers in passes quickly and secures the football. Good agility and straight-line speed for the position. Good balance and body control. Dependable short-to-intermediate receiver. Can snatch throws off his body and make contested grabs. Has potential as a move blocker. Showed dedication and discipline re-shaping his body as a junior.
Weaknesses: Tight hips. Average speed and suddenness — dull in/out of breaks and struggles to separate vs. more explosive safeties. Unrefined route runner. Started just 11 games in three seasons. Possesses the ability to make the incredible catch but will drop the occasional easy pass and struggles in traffic. Lacks the bulk and strength to hold up as an in-line blocker in the NFL. A bit finesse in his play, relying more on his athleticism than physicality. Gets to the second level quickly but rather than latching on to control opponents, Richard extends his arms and stops his feet, allowing defenders to break free easily from his blocks.
The tight end position was certainly going to be addressed earlier than later in this draft. Jermichael Finley still has not been medically cleared following his severe neck injury last season and no timetable is set for him to return. The Packers appear to be proceeding as if Finley won’t be back.
With several top tight ends already gone and with the Houston Texans having nabbed Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz, who the Packers were rumored to have been looking at, Packers general manager Ted Thompson tried his luck on another guy named Rodgers. If Richard can play anywhere near the level that his namesake and Packers quarterback Aaron has, the Packers will be patting themselves on the back for this pick for many years to come.
Rodgers has the measurables and can certainly create some mismatches when in the slot against smaller corners. He isn’t the deep threat that Finley could be, at times, but Rodgers appears to be valuable in short yardage. Think goal line. If he can hang onto the ball, which has been an issue with Rodgers at times, he can find his way onto the field this season and be a complement to Andrew Quarless.
Rodgers will need to hone on his blocking skills and that is the one area that may prevent him from seeing more time in his rookie season.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: