Analysis: This selection of Cal Tight end Richard Rodgers might seem like a bit of a reach for the Packers, but the they get an athletic tight end who has some pass catching ability. His stock was expected to rise early in the draft
process, but his 4.87 40 time, which was the 3rd slowest by a tight end, slowed down his pre-draft momentum.
The 6’4” 257 pound Rodgers only started 11 games in 3 seasons at Cal, catching 59 balls for 896 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rodgers is fairly unpolished at this point, but with some coaching could become a decent target for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
How does he fit the Packers? Rodgers will join a tight end room with a high variance of skill sets. Rodgers is a good athlete who is a victim of his 40 time. As a former basketball player you can see the way that he attacks the football and where I really think he’ll be effective is in the red zone. At 6’4″ he’s not overly tall but he appears to have good ball skills and is effective running with the football. He should have time to develop behind Quarless and Bostick.
NFL comparison: Garrett Graham
The first thing that stands out about Rodgers is his lack of speed. He only ran a 4.86 40-yard dash, so he has to rely on his big frame and long arms to make catches. He does not look like a vertical threat but can be effective in the short and intermediate passing game. Rodgers will struggle to gain separation, so he will have to use those long arms to make contested catches in traffic.
PackersTalk.com writers Ross Uglem, Ian Hanley, and Matt Bove contributed to this article.