With the 2021 NFL Draft now less than a month away, we examine some of the prospects who could be of interest to the New England Patriots.
In this scouting report, we take a closer look at Amari Rodgers, a wide receiver from Clemson University.
Height: 5'10" (1.78m)
Weight: 210lbs (95kg)
Hands: 7.5/10 - Rodgers had occasional focus drops but overall dependable hands.
Contact Balance/Elusiveness: 7.5/10 - Rodgers struggled to break tackles but showed lateral elusiveness to occasionally avoid being wrapped up.
Route Footwork Efficiency: 9.5/10 - Perhaps Rodgers' greatest strength is his efficient footwork and crisp route running.
Short Routes: 9.5/10 - Rodgers thrived on being able to create instant separation in tight spaces.
Medium Routes: 9/10 - Though being primarily a middle-of-the-field short-yardage threat, his ability to break routes past 10-yards is fairly effective.
Deep Routes: 8/10 - Rodgers created decent separation, especially on double moves, but lacked the overall skill to consistently stack and finish vertically.
Quickness: 9/10 - While not being supremely physically gifted, Rodgers was still able to show great lateral speed to create quick separation.
Long Speed: 7/10 - Rodgers has enough speed to win vertically but he is not a burner and cannot win routes solely on athletic prowess.
Zone IQ: 9.5/10 - There are numerous situations in which Rodgers effectively read the field and was able to tailor his route to either sit down in a zone or continue against man coverage. His cerebral play is definitely one of his best traits.
Release: 9/10 - Despite being conventionally undersized, he did not seem to struggle too much against press.
50/50 Ball: 7/10 - While his small stature made it difficult to win jump balls, Rodgers showed good body control and the ability to contort or slow down to draw contact.
Big Play Factor: 7/10 - Rodgers carved out a niche as a more consistent chunk yardage receiver than a highlight reel player.
Draft Grade: Round 2-3
Fit with the Patriots:
Rodgers is a prototypical slot receiver who would mesh instantly in an offense predicated on spread mismatches and quick strikes like the Patriots offense.
By far Rodgers' greatest strengths as a receiver are his quick burst in short and intermediate yardage, and his footwork precision. These two strengths are indicative of the strong coaching Rodgers has received throughout his career; in fact, Rodgers' father, Tee Martin, is a former national title-winning quarterback at the University of Tennessee and the current wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
As a whole, Rodgers' shiftiness in operating from the slot is reminiscent of James White's route-running ability. Under Josh McDaniels, Rodgers would be an effective option route runner, poised to continue the lineage of great New England slots after Wes Welker and Julian Edelman.
Though he may be considered slightly undersized to be a true X receiver, Rodgers is more than capable of playing sporadic snaps outside the numbers on an island. The Clemson standout showed a knack for double routes, especially when coming back toward the ball.
With Edelman continuing to get older and the Patriots having no true slot replacement on deck, it would make sense from them to make a day two push for one of the most surgical short route runners in the draft.