There’s a new connection in Green Bay: (Aaron) Rodgers to (Richard) Rodgers.
The Packers selected tight end Richard Rodgers in the third round of the NFL draft on Friday with the 98th overall pick, third-to-last of the day.
“Another Rodgers from Cal in Green Bay, sweet,” tweeted the star quarterback (no relation) who also played his college ball in Berkeley.
Rodgers (the tight end) gave up all social media more than a year ago, so he hadn’t heard the enthusiastic welcome from Green Bay’s all-pro quarterback.
“I think that’s fantastic,” Richard Rodgers said. “I can’t wait to get out there and get to work.”
Rodgers’ most recent quarterback, Cal sophomore Jared Goff, also offered his best wishes. “Congrats big Rich! Awesome to see teammates make it like this!” Goff tweeted.
Added Cal wide receiver Bryce Treggs, also via Twitter: “Shoutout to Richard Rodgers. Gotta continue the Cal pipeline to the NFL.”
Rodgers was projected much lower in the draft, but kept alive Cal’s streak of having at least one player drafted in the first round every year since 2006.
Either way, Rodgers said he wasn’t worried about where he would be chosen. He acknowledged that the virtual elimination of his position in coach Sonny Dykes’ “Bear Raid” offense contributed to his decision to leave college after his junior season.
Still, the 6-4, 257-pounder, who caught 39 receptions for 608 yards last fall, wasn’t worried NFL scouts would be scared off. He said they looked at tape from his sophomore season to gauge his blocking skills and last year saw a player who could fill the role of the modern tight end.
“Obviously, you see the tight ends now in the NFL are flexed out, playing off the line,” he said. “So it didn’t worry me much.”
“He is capable of blocking,” Packers tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said. “Once he gets a chance to compete. We ask our tight ends to do everything. I think he’s perfectly capable of doing that.”
But Fontenot also said the Packers see Rodgers as a pass-catching weapon in their offense.
“He has really good hands, catches the football and he’s a detailed route-runner,” Fontenot said. “His understanding of schemes and concepts, he really understands the game.”