Amari Rodgers excited to hear his name called in NFL Draft
|Thursday, April 29, 2021, 3:27 PM- -|
Amari Rodgers was known for his work ethic at Clemson, constantly staying after practice to catch extra passes from either a quarterback or the JUGS machine. That hard work will pay off when he hears his name called in this week’s NFL Draft.
Rodgers is expected to be drafted Friday when the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft unfold at 7 p.m. Rodgers earned starting roles at receiver and punt returner in 2018 and contributed in those roles in 2019 after a remarkable comeback from injury and then recorded a career year as a senior in 2020. He concluded his career with 181 career receptions for 2,144 yards with 15 receiving touchdowns in 1,901 snaps over 55 career games (37 starts). He is also credited with 68 career punt returns for 529 yards (7.8 avg.) including a punt return touchdown.
Rodgers impressed NFL scouts at the Senior Bowl and then was impressive during the Tigers’ Pro Day in March. That led to a lot of interest from the NFL, and a lot of Zoom meetings.
“I've had a ton of meetings on Zoom. They schedule it and it's on Zoom, you get on there, sometimes you may go over plays, they may put an install in, you have to get quizzed on it,” Rodgers said. “Sometimes you may watch the film on yourself and they critique you, just say how you learn from the play if you make a mistake or something. And then sometimes, they just want to get to know you and ask you about yourself, how you came up, and stuff like that as well. So it’s the same thing it would be in person, but now it's on Zoom.”
Rodgers said he learned the value of hard from his father, Tee Martin (now the wide receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens), and learned practice habits from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
“It's very important. Coach Swinney does a great job of emphasizing practice reps. Everything at practice is full speed so that when it comes to the game, you've already done it, you've already seen it before,” Rodgers said. “So that's really our approach. How we play in practice, that's how our receiver room is going to play the rest of the season. So, we knew we had to take every practice seriously, lock in, finish 10 yards after the catch each time we catch it.
"Just get our bodies right, so that when it came to the game, we're locked in, and whenever the plays came to us, we were just making them like it was routine. So, we did a great job of pushing ourselves, and also the coaching staff did a great job all season long.”
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is expected to hear his name called with the No. 1 overall pick tonight when the Jacksonville Jaguars make their pick, and Rodgers said Lawrence is just different.
“Ever since he got here my sophomore year, when we won the National Championship, he was locked in and just focused,” Rodgers said. “The way he prepared was just different and he was separating himself from day one. He approached every game - it doesn't matter if it was Wofford or if we were playing Alabama in the National Championship - he approached each game the same way. So, I expected that from him, and even on a practice field, when we don't miss a pass, we're getting three reps after practice.
"He's kind of a perfectionist and, I love that about him because he wants to see if something works. Because if it works in practice, it's going to definitely work in a game. He makes sure that we get all those good reps in practice so that when it comes to game time, it's just easy and we're just linking just like we're in practice."