Packers rookie WR Amari Rodgers eager to follow Davante Adams' lead 

Third-round pick could do “some cool things” for Green Bay’s offense in 2021

WR Amari Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Clemson's football season was over, but Amari Rodgers' work in the film room had only just begun.

Throughout his four years as a member of the Tigers' program, the All-Atlantic Coast Conference receiver developed an offseason ritual that kept Clemson's coaching and video staff busy every winter.

Find as much film as you can of Davante Adams.

Rodgers was fascinated with the Packers receiver's game – from his unstoppable release off the line of scrimmage to his ankle-snapping route-running.

Adams had it all. Rodgers just latched onto some of it.

"I'd tell my coaches make a cut-up of Davante so I can watch his whole season," Rodgers said. "I used to go through and just watch his cut-ups and try to learn things from him."

Given that backstory, Rodgers was emphatic in his reply to former Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall's question earlier this year about his "dream scenario" for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Without hesitation, Rodgers made it clear he hoped up to wind up with Adams in Green Bay. Turns out, the Packers felt the same way about the versatile playmaker, trading up in the third round to draft Rodgers 76th overall this past April.

Rodgers received a brief introduction to what it's like to share a position room with Adams during the team's mandatory three-day minicamp – and a small preview of the knowledge the rookie hopes to draw from later this summer.

"It was amazing, being able to pick his brain a little bit and add something to my toolbox from him," Rodgers said. "He's one of those player-coaches, so if you don't know something you can go to him because you know he's been in the game, he's been experienced and he's probably the best receiver in the game, in my opinion, right now."

As the son of a football coach, Rodgers was born with an insatiable appetite for the game. While film study can be work for some, Rodgers professes his enjoyment in watching Adams, Stefon Diggs, Antonio Brown, and former Memphis standout Anthony Miller, now a slot receiver for the Chicago Bears.

Those off-the-field efforts seem to have made a difference for Rodgers on the field, culminating in a senior season in which he led Clemson with 77 catches for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns, in addition to handling punt returns.

Likewise, the Packers are hoping the rookie third-round pick can do a little bit of everything for them. Rodgers not only gives them a more traditional slot receiver that the offense has been missing, but also a playmaker proficient in running jet motions.

"I think without a doubt he's going to do some cool things for us this upcoming year," offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said during OTAs. "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."

The other area Rodgers could be positioned to make an immediate difference is on special teams, where the Packers have a vacancy on both kickoff and punt returns.

Rodgers didn't handle punts until his sophomore year at Clemson but proved to be a natural. He averaged 7.8 yards on 68 returns in his college career, returning one for a touchdown.

From his perspective, Rodgers views fielding a punt no different than catching a pass – it's securing the football and "trying to run through anybody that's in my way and just get to the end zone."

So, it probably should come as no surprise Rodgers handled a bulk of the return reps in practices open to media during the offseason program.

"He's just doing a good job right now of tracking the ball," special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton said. "His catch point is the same on every catch. His approach to it, he understands the importance of it, and that's what makes him very valuable to us right now as a prospective punt returner."

Head Coach Matt LaFleur was excited by what he saw from Rodgers this spring, praising the rookie for his versatility and how quickly he's picked things up so far.

Still, the 21-year-old receiver knows he's got work to do in the playbook over these next six weeks. While there is a lot of carryover from Clemson's offense, it's a whole different world trying to win against top-level NFL cornerbacks.

But with Adams and many of Green Bay's veteran receivers not participating in OTAs, there were plenty of reps available for Rodgers to find his comfort zone in the NFL.

"I grew a lot, tremendously, to be honest," Rodgers said. "Reps are everything to me. That's how I learn fast is being able to go out there and do it. I feel like that helped me a lot."

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