With the Green Bay Packers OTAs finishing up this week, rookie tight end Richard Rodgers was one of the most talked-about players. If people were comparing him to fellow Packer Jermichael Finley before, they are really doing it now.
When looking at Rodgers' athleticism and overall rawness coming out of college, it's easy to see why comparisons to Finley are so easy. However, being compared to a player and actually producing at the same level as said player are two very different things.
So, the real question for Rodgers is whether or not he can legitimately become Finley 2.0 in Green Bay. While we've only seen Rodgers in light practices, all signs point to him having a very good chance at not only becoming the new Finley, but surpassing him.
The funny thing about Finley is that he was always more potential than actual player. People loved him for the thought of what he could become, not for what he actually was on the field.
To Rodgers, Finley was the tight end that he wanted to become. In fact, Rodgers has spent time watching Finley's game tape after practices, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. After watching, this is what he had to say:
He makes plays, catches the ball, makes moves in space and that's really what you want to do as a tight end. You want to get the ball and make plays and break tackles, and that's exactly what he does.
The one word that Rodgers forgot to use when describing Finley is "consistent." And that's ultimately how Rodgers can become the new Finley: by becoming a more consistent player.
Now, there's no doubt that Rodgers still has plenty of work to do, but it seems like he's quite a bit more developed than anyone thought he'd be coming out of college. His new quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, can't stop gushing about him, according to Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
After the final day of OTAs, Rodgers said, “It’s helmets and shorts, but you’ve got to be excited about his body type and the hands. He’s made some incredible catches. He makes it look easy.”
Rodgers (the quarterback) also finds it humorous that his rookie tight end was called a "reach" by some draft experts:
The reason for this is because the All-Pro quarterback has seen what Finley was for a number of years, and he knows that Rodgers has the potential to be so much more.
So, while people may be pointing to Rodgers (the tight end) and hoping he becomes the new Finley, that simply might not be fair to the first-year player from Cal. Sure, it may take some time for him to get acclimated to the NFL game, but all signs point to Rodgers surpassing Finley in the overall impact he made for Green Bay.