We knew a Cal player would be selected this year. Possibly several. We just didn't know when.
Well, the Green Bay Packers put an end to all that speculation at the end of the third round, when they took Richard Rodgers at 98th overall (3rd round), right before the night ended.
The 6'4, 260 pounder will be joining a pass-happy offense that obviously includes Super Bowl winner and fellow Cal Bear Aaron Rodgers, but also new second round draft pick Davante Adams, and stud wideout Jordy Nelson. Playmaking opportunities should not be short in that regard.
More importantly, though, is the fact that there is no clear starter at his position right now -- he'll have plenty of opportunity to earn the starting gig with Jermichael Finley sidelined indefinitely.
Avi had a scouting report and some thoughts on Rodgers that were originally set to run tomorrow:
In one of his final predictions as Cal head coach Jeff Tedford projected that Richard Rodgers would become the best tight end in college football. That didn't really turn out the way Tedford was hoping. Rodgers had occasionally excellent moments during his sophomore and junior years at Cal, but they were interspersed with long periods of absent play and non-productivity.
Tedford probably envisioned that Rodgers would produce big things in his supposed two tight end scheme that he was trying to employ in his final year at Cal, but that other tight end (Spencer Hagan) missed the entire season due to injury and that game plan was quickly scuttled in favor of...something (I really can't tell you the 2012 Cal offensive game plan. It's a mystery to most of us.) Rodgers caught 7 passes for 129 yards against UCLA and 13 catches for 159 yards against everyone else in 2012.
Rodgers performed better in 2013, slimming down and shedding the quick fatigue that would usually impair his game in 2014. He would catch four or more passes in six games and find a way to get his touches. In the pass-happy offense that Cal ran in 2013, Rodgers found ways to get open. He also developed some solid blocking and performed more athletic feats than he was capable of the previous season.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure where that leaves him with regards to NFL standards. Rodgers is now kind of developed to be a tight end who can line out wide, but probably needs to put on a little weight to get better at grinding in the trenches. His hands were also variable. He would make some great catches but also miss a few bunnies. He also could never seem to get into the end zone, which is kind of what you want tight ends for as your secondary option once you reach red zone territory. But Rodgers only had two end zone forays during his time at Cal.
Rodgers leaving early for the NFL Draft was a bit surprising, but it seemed like he would never get a chance to really flash his talents in Sonny Dykes's Bear Raid. What Cal needed from an inside receiver was someone who could run a lot of routes that were better suited to a wide receiver than a tight end, and Rodgers just never really fit into that role.
Yours truly had no idea he'd go round three, but I am on the record with this...[the second tweet was after the draft. I'm sure I had other thoughts on Rodgers, but I couldn't be bothered to search my massive twitter history any further.]
Out of all the Cal guys in the draft this year, I think Rodgers will be the best NFL player.— Nam Le (@AGuyNamedNam) December 27, 2013
Congratulations, Richard! Go Bears!
No, Richard Rodgers doesn't have elite athleticism. It won't matter. He's got great size, a fine set of hands, and he ain't goin down.— Nam Le (@AGuyNamedNam) May 10, 2014