How Richard Rodgers Fits with the Green Bay Packers

Justis MosquedaFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

California tight end Richard Rodgers makes a catch as he runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Coming into the draft, it was known that tight end was a position of need for the Green Bay Packers. With Jermichael Finley hitting free agency, it created a vacancy for a starting tight end.

Instead of spending money in the bidding war that is the top-tier open market, the Packers went the safe route and brought back Andrew Quarless. With Quarless, the Packers now had two pieces who could contribute in the passing game, the other being Brandon Bostick. Neither one would traditionally be labeled as a starter, though.

Now, there's always the option to sign Finley later if he passes the medical, but currently, new draft pick Richard Rodgers will likely be competing with Quarless for the starting job in the summer.

Rodgers, a receiver in California's new offense installed in 2013, is the son of an NFL special teams coordinator and was a highly touted football and basketball player coming out of high school. All the buzzwords here fit.

The issue with Rodgers is this: Can he transition to the pro game?

He was a tight end at one of the weakest BCS schools under a freshman quarterback. What you have in him has yet to be seen, so you can neither pass good nor bad judgement on the lack of production and starts during his collegiate career.

Bleacher Report's own Ryan McCrystal had some interesting thoughts on the tight end to wide receiver convert, who is now a wide receiver to tight end convert:

Rodgers is a tough prospect to grade because he is so raw and doesn't have a ton of experience, an issue which is compounded by the fact that he played multiple roles in two different offensive schemes. In the short term, Rodgers provides almost no value at the next level. His fundamentals, both as a receiver and a blocker, are extremely sloppy and raw and will take a year or two to refine. While he does have some potential once he becomes a more polished product, it's tough to see where he'll win at the next level. He doesn't excel in any one area and he may struggle to carve out a defined role for himself in the NFL.

I don't disagree with McCrystal with any point. He didn't really get to sit into one role in college, which made his evolution at a position stall. In Green Bay, though, he will have that role.

The "former basketball player pass-catching tight end" project almost seems like a cliche at this point, but Ted Thompson may have hit on something. Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham were viewed in the same light as Rodgers.

What're you going to do with Graham? He's a big receiver. There's no room for that in the NFL. He's only been playing the position for a short amount of time, so how can he contribute at the professional level?

In the end, there are at least two Rodgers hoping that the pick hits: Aaron and Richard Jr.

Richard's father, Richard Sr., may regret it, though, when his son faces his Carolina Panthers on Sundays in the future.