With their compensatory third-round pick in the NFL Draft Friday night, the Green Bay Packers selected California tight end Richard Rodgers.
Rodgers, 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, had 39 catches for 608 yards and a touchdown last season for the Golden Bears. He’s got tight end size, but his speed (4.87 40-yard dash at the combine) is not what you’d hope for from a tight end.
He was a legacy at Cal; his father, Richard, made the final lateral on the infamous touchdown return against Stanford in 1982—known simply as “The Play”—and is now the special teams coordinator for the Panthers, so he comes from a football background.
Rodgers won’t have the same big-play ability as Jermichael Finley; he has the speed to get down the seam, but can’t run away from linebackers in man coverage and isn’t much of a threat to run after the catch.
His ball skills aren’t great, either. He traps a lot of passes with his body as opposed to catching the football with his hands and has shown a tendency to look away from the ball looking to make something happen after the catch, leading to silly drops.
Scouts, Inc., ranked Rodgers at No. 221 overall.
Then again, the Packers had good luck the last time they picked a guy named Rodgers from Cal.