While some have labeled former Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers as a running back playing in the slot and outside, the team reigning from Maryland's harbor wouldn't mind another weapon that excels in yards after the catch.
With almost double the draft capital after trading offensive tackle Orlando Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens will have more than one shot at the tenured Tiger. With another former Clemson alumnus recently joining Baltimore in Sammy Watkins and Rodgers' father Tee Martin on staff as the wide receivers coach, the fit seems a little too apparent after disappointing outings from receiver Marquise Brown.
After the Brown trade, the Ravens own zero second-round picks but now hold two choices in the first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. With so much draft capital in the later rounds, it's plausible to assume Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta will move in the draft at least once, potentially to obtain more capital for draft day No. 2. As it stands, the Ravens hold picks No. 94, 104, 131, 136, and 171, all of which are great options for selecting the Clemson project.
Before his Senior Bowl and Clemson Pro Day performances, Rodgers might've quickly gone with a fourth or fifth-round pick, but his draft stock has done nothing but rise. Silencing the many doubters after an ACL injury in 2019, Rodgers only solidified that his 1,020 yard, seven touchdown senior season was no fluke, nor due to offensive coordinator Tony Elliott's scheme.
"So no team has talked to me as being a running back, right, all that was talking that were straight media people. But all in all, (teams) are still looking at me as a Swiss army knife. They can motion me in the backfield on third downs and match me up against linebackers, just creating mismatches," Rodgers said on The ROAR's "Out of Bounds" radio show last week.
"Because at the end of the day, that's what the game is about, especially in NFL. So that's how they present that running back position to me. It wasn't as like handing me off, and I'm in there doing pass protections or anything like that. It's just using me and moving me around, just finding different ways to get me the ball."
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is only a year removed from an MVP campaign, despite losing in the Divisional Round to the Derrick Henry-led Tennessee Titans in early 2020. The season following that very same playoff performance, teams keyed in on the run-heavy scheme coach John Harbaugh utilized to succeed the season prior, similar to the Titans in the playoffs, who held a potent Ravens' to only 13 points.
Even after adding first-round pick J.K. Dobbins in the 2020 draft to relieve some of running back Mark Ingram's duties, the Ravens weren't anywhere near their caliber of a season prior.
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While Brown hasn't lived up to his speedy potential as a deep threat, an NFL player's third year often brings the most significant jump. Watkins was a great addition, and Rodgers could fill out a three-person trio that brings a great mix of experience, speed, and youthfulness with Rodgers in the mix.
Yeah, it would be (cool to be in Baltimore), there is a chance always," Rodgers said. (My father) hasn't told me much of that situation; I'm just preparing anywhere I go. I know I will be ready. But he's always telling me to prepare myself mentally."
Other potential fits
- The Chiefs seemed a perfect fit for Rodgers, but after the aforementioned trade for Brown with the Ravens, Kansas City no longer has a realistic chance at the do it all receiver, barring a massive draft day slip.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have to be another evident suitor for Rodgers. Joining "Out of Bounds" last week, Rodgers said that Jacksonville was one of the teams he enjoyed talking with the most. With former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence virtually in Jacksonville already, there's hardly another option that would be better suited for Lawrence's inaugural season.
- With the recent retirement of Julian Edelman, the New England Patriots are another excellent option for Rodgers. Young gun receiver N'Keal Harry underwhelmed last year even with so many outstanding physical attributes, and Edelman's departure leaves head coach Bill Belicheck extremely thin out wide. Without proper weapons in his second year, the story could look eerily similar to Newton's time in Charlotte, and Rodgers could help immediately.
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