Well, good news for Green Bay Packers third-round pick Richard Rodgers. He’s made a hell of a first impression.
We’ve been hearing nothing but good things about the tight end since OTAs began. Athletic. Playmaker. Great hands. Hard worker. All of those words have been thrown around in describing Rodgers and a number of outlets have pointed out the big plays Rodgers has made on the field.
That’s all great to hear, but let us remind everyone of a couple things before we anoint Rodgers as the second coming of Paul Coffman.
1. The Packers haven’t held a padded practice yet. 2. Some player ALWAYS impresses during OTAs and becomes all the rage and then disappears when the real action starts.
Just last year, one of those guys was first-round pick Datone Jones. He went on to be a non-factor in the regular season. Who else has been an OTA wonder? Guys like Brandon Underwood, Lane Taylor and Dezman Moses — a real who’s who in the pantheon of Packers legends.
This isn’t to say that Rodgers can’t be different, that he can’t contribute during the regular season, but let’s temper our expectations.
As we’ve detailed before, it’s tough for tight ends to make an impact as NFL rookies. Very rarely does a tight end walk into the league and he’s already a talented receiver AND a great blocker. That latter factor keeps a lot of young tight ends off the field.
Jermichael Finley is the perfect example. He had only eight receptions his first season after playing two seasons at Texas. Like Rodgers, who actually played receiver last year, Finley wasn’t asked to do a lot of blocking in college.
So, I’m sure we all like Richard Rodgers’ potential and ability, especially in no-contact practices. Don’t expect him to be making anyone forget about Finley come September, though.