CLEMSON — Amari Rodgers was among the top slot receivers in college football this past season.
He now knows who he’ll be catching passes for at the next level. The Green Bay Packers drafted the former Clemson wide receiver with the 85th overall pick in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
With Justyn Ross dealing with problems in his spine and Tee Higgins gone to the NFL, Clemson needed someone to emerge as a top target for Trevor Lawrence this past season. Rodgers stepped up, grabbing 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season with the Tigers. The breakout season earned him a selection on the All-ACC first-team. He was also a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
A Knoxville, Tenn, native and son of former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin, Rodgers made appearances on the All-ACC honorable mention list in his sophomore and junior seasons. He could’ve been on a similar track in 2020, but he matured and developed into an NFL-ready talent.
Rodgers’ draft stock soared following his strong 2020 season. At the Senior Bowl, he finished an impressive week with four catches for 23 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown. His 24 reps on the bench press paired with a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash helped raise his stock even more. Throughout his time with the Tigers, Dabo Swinney said the 5-foot-9, 212-pound wideout practiced like a pro.
The Packers obviously see that.
“A lot of people never saw me work at practice, especially with COVID,” Rodgers said earlier this month. “Scouts couldn’t come to practice this year. So that was an opportunity for them to see how I practice and stuff like that. So I wanted to go out there and show them that I practice like a pro and show them that I can win one-on-one matchups. I feel like I did that. I feel like it helped me tremendously.”
Amari Rodgers wasn’t truly an NFL-ready talent until this past season. But he proved his worth, helping the Tigers nearly get back to another national championship game.
Now he’ll achieve his dream of playing in the NFL.