NFL DRAFT CLASS OF 2021 INTERVIEW: AMARI RODGERS | CLEMSON | WIDE RECEIVER

Interview with Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers
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I see today that you took a few reps at the running back position. Would you be open to switching over to playing running back, a la Ty Montgomery did who started off as wide receiver and then ended up in the league as a running back? I mean, the way that they approached it to me today was just seeing it as using me on third down, putting me one-on-one with linebackers, motioning into the backfield and then making me mismatched with linebackers. So that's the way he came to me and approached it. They wanted to see me running outside of the backfield and see how I was able to move out of the backfield. So that's why I did that.

The Senior Bowl is a key learning experience for every player who attended, in your case at Clemson. So was that week and game helpful for your preparation before today's workout? For sure. I feel like it was definitely helpful just to know that at practice seeing scouts. I just got comfortable performing in front of scouts in games. That was really a warmup for me. And Pro Day today, I wasn't nervous or anything about it because I already been in front of most of them at the Senior Bowl. So I was comfortable and just went out there and did my thing. Just play ball.

You were one of the most dynamic receivers with the ball in your hands last season. What makes you so dangerous after the catch? Just that, the fact that I did play running back my whole life over to my junior year of high school. I've had that background. Whenever I get the ball, I'm trying to score, period. I’m not trying to get tackled by one person. It’s going to have to take two or three people to get me down. That’s just my mindset, just whenever I got the ball in my hands I’m trying to score every single time.

What receivers have you studied that have helped mold you? Jarvis Landry, I studied him a lot, just his dominance, his grit, his route running, his hands, all of it. I feel like I tie to him a lot. And even Steve Smith, even though he's not playing anymore, he was here today, it was crazy because that's like my idol. Growing up, I used to watch his highlights before every high school game, so it's kind of a surreal moment being able to meet him and get advice from him as well. But those two are definitely guys that I compare my game to.

At Clemson you played quite a bit out of the slot but they didn't move you around. And obviously you've taken reps out of the backfield now at your Pro Day. How would you say from a pure route-running perspective, it's a bit different going out of the slot as opposed to being outside? Yeah, it’s definitely different. You have a lot more space usually, so you can work and be more patient than outside when you're most of time usually pressed up so you’ve got to get into your route. That's something I love is having space and being able to work different releases and stuff like that. Just having more space as well, it's a lot farther to the sidelines. At the corner with out routes you don't have a lot of space to work with you out there, so you can do a lot of different things as far as running that route. And then as far as you get safeties matched up on you as well. That might be a speed mismatch. So that's something that I like as well. But all in all, it doesn’t matter where I go. I'm pretty confident in myself. That’s really been my mind-set since I've gotten to college, it's just a confidence standpoint, just knowing that when I line up against somebody, I’m confident I’m going to win.

You did take quite a bit of reps as a punt returner. Have teams talked to you about that and wanting to utilize you on special teams? Yeah, for sure. Definitely. I caught punts at the Pro Day today. So that's definitely something I plan on doing at the pro level, punt return and kickoff return, just open to anything to help the team. I let that be known, if it’s coming out of the backfield, catching passes in the slot or outside or in the return game, I can do it all. That’s something that I wanted to show throughout this whole process.

Whatever team you end up with, if you could speak to the fans of that team, what would your message be about the player they’re getting in Amari Rodgers? You’re getting a winner. I won at the highest level at every point in my career. I don’t plan on stopping now. I'm going to do whatever it takes in order to help the team that I go to win and to help myself be successful. I'm going to be the hardest worker on a team. I'm gonna be the first one in the building, the last one out. I'm just gonna be determined to win Super Bowls and bring the Super Bowl back to whatever city I go to. You're gonna get somebody that’s going to go all in. They're not going to let off the gas pedal until the career is over. So that’s what you’re going to get out of me.

Is there any particular defensive back in the NFL that you would say, man, I definitely want to go against this guy just to show what I have? Jalen Ramsey probably because he's from Tennessee. And I’m from Tennessee too. So two Tennessee boys going at it. I’m looking forward to that matchup for sure.

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