There was no chance Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was going to let wide receivers pass him by for three straight NFL drafts.
After ignoring the position for two consecutive years, the Packers traded up in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft on Friday night and selected former Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers with the No. 85 overall pick. They gave up their original picks in the third and fourth rounds (Nos. 92 and 135) to the Tennessee Titans in order to move up for their new pass-catcher.
Rodgers hauled in 181 receptions for 2,144 yards and 14 touchdowns as a four-year wideout for the Tigers and finished on a high note with career-best numbers (77 catches, 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games) in his final season. He also received the majority of his targets (about 86%) in the slot, where the Packers have lacked talent since Randall Cobb moved on.
Rodgers is the first wide receiver the Packers have taken in the third round since Ty Montgomery (pre-position change) in 2015. They had not drafted a wideout at all since taking J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimous St. Brown with a trio of Day 3 picks in 2018.
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Dabo Swinney Weighs in After Packers Pick
Few people can say they know Rodgers’ receiving capabilities as well as Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, so Packers fans should feel pretty good about getting someone that he deems an “ultimate pro” in “every aspect of his life.” Swinney also has no doubts Rodgers will be ready to contribute Day 1 for the Packers as both a pass-catcher and special teams weapon.
Here’s what Swinney said in a statement about Rodgers after his selection to the Packers on Friday:
“The Packers are getting a true professional. He is the ultimate pro. This kid has handled himself like a pro since I met him, and I mean in every aspect of his life. He is incredibly committed to excellence in every area: academics, his relationships, how he deals with media, how he responds to adversity, you name it. He is the same guy every day. He has an incredible mind to him. He has an incredible mental toughness and grit, and then he is just highly skilled. He brings a ton of experience. He has played a ton of football. He has incredible special teams value. He can do a lot of things there. He played his first two years on the outside, he played his last two years in the slot. He is crafty. He is a technician at his position, and he is a guy that’s going to be ready Day 1 since he can play multiple positions and is incredibly smart. Again, he is built like a running back, but he has the length of a 6-foot-3 wideout and plays long. He is tough yards-after-the-catch guy and I think is one of those guys that, like I said, is a true pro and will be a leader from the moment he gets there.