2021 was a year of highs and lows for Amari Rodgers. After achieving the dream of being drafted in the 3rd round, it was followed up by a forgettable rookie campaign. He had a negligible role on offense and was primarily used on special teams, where he struggled as a returner. Indecisiveness and poor ball handling made every return a gamble. However, in 2022 there is reason to believe that Rodgers could be a key contributor on offense.
During his college career, Clemson used Rodgers in a myriad of ways. He lined up out of the backfield, in the slot, as well as outside. They did an excellent job of creating opportunities to get the ball in his hands. Reason being Rodgers is elusive in the open field. That combined with his dense frame, at 204 pounds, makes him difficult for opponents to tackle. He made highlight after highlight breaking tackles and making people through his time in college. During his rookie year, even in extremely limited action, he also demonstrated the same ability at the NFL level.
It’s easy to see how a similar role he played in Clemson could be created in Green Bay. Matt Lafleur is an extremely creative offensive play caller. He often looks to create opportunities to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers quickly, allowing them to create after the play. Development from a versatile chess piece like Rodgers would be a dream come true for Lafleur. He can create mismatches all over the field and give another layer to the Packers patented ‘illusion of complexity’ offense.
The final key part in the recipe to contribute is opportunity. Luckily for Rodgers, opportunities abound in the Packers wide receiver room after the departure of Davante Adams. As Green Bay remakes their receiver room there is swaths of playing time available. Rodgers will need to demonstrate that his rookie year is behind him and show significant signs of growth. If he does, Lafleur will find a way to use him.
There are positive signs that Rodgers is ready to take a step forward. Wide Receivers Coach Jason Vrable has spoke highly of his effort and rebuilt confidence this offseason, highlighting Rodgers’ growth multiple times already. Clearly the team believes that he has put in the work necessary to take a step forward this season. Green Bay will be eager to see him throughout the offseason program and particularly if he can flash during preseason games. If he can show consistency and growth, he can lock down a permanent role in a wide open offense in 2022.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.