2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Amari Rodgers, WR Clemson

Jeff Mueller

Our NFL rookie profile series kicks off with this analysis of 2021 NFL Draft prospect Amari Rodgers, WR from Clemson. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analysis right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league!

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne from Clemson are household names within the fantasy football community. After all, they led Clemson to the College Football Championship in the 2019-2020 season and then the Sugar Bowl in the 2020-2021 season.

In 2020, there was an unexpected offensive contributor who stepped up in the absence of receivers Tee Higgins (declared for the NFL) and Justyn Ross (ruled out of 2020 due to a congenital spine disorder that required surgery). Clemson needed a playmaker outside of Lawrence and Etienne, and it was Amari Rodgers who stepped up.

THE STATS

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Statistics from Sports Reference.

Statistically speaking, Rodgers did not make a significant impact for Clemson until 2020. However, he made a significant impact on his teammates and the fanbase with his remarkable ability to play in 2019.

He suffered a torn right ACL on March 25, 2019 and was rumored to likely miss the entire season. Coaches and teammates were pleasantly surprised when Rodgers wound up practicing in camp and returning to play in less than 24 weeks (five months, 13 days post-injury). As many of you know, ACL injuries typically require a minimum of eight to nine months for full recovery and safe return to play. Here are more details on his amazing recovery, including details from Clemson’s team physician Dr. Steven Martin regarding Rodgers’ mindset in recovery.

He is truly special and unique when it comes to rehabilitation and returning to play, and I am not concerned about his right knee moving forward into the NFL.

In 2020, Rodgers amassed an impressive 77-1,020-7 receiving line, leading Clemson receivers in receptions and yards, while tying for the team lead in receiving touchdowns.

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Image from DLF’s College Market Share App.

THE FILM

Our DLF film crew has compiled links to several games of film for review.

Rodgers reminds me a lot of 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel – he is built like a running back, has the ability to break tackles and fight for extra yards, strong hands, and can quickly create a change of direction to elude incoming defenders. He certainly is not one of the faster wide receivers in this class, but he might be one of the toughest.

Rodgers often shows very good body control and adjustment with the ball in the air, which pairs nicely with his “my ball” mentality. One flaw that is often noted is a concern with concentration drops.

While he is not a refined route runner, he profiles as the type of wide receiver who coaches want to get the ball into their hands and let them work after the catch. He was arguably one of the best wide receivers in college football last year in terms of yards after catch, after all.

Rodgers’ film is littered with play after play of him evading tackles, fighting for extra yards, hustling to present himself as an open target for his quarterback, and never giving up on a play. These are traits that are extremely valuable in a wide receiver, and often a mentality that cannot be taught.

Anyone watching Clemson observed the trust that Lawrence had in Rodgers in key situations. I have no doubt in my mind that this trust will be developed with his new quarterback in the NFL.

Note: This highlight is from 2020, a year after suffering the ACL tear. He showed no movement limitation or hesitation, giving me zero concern about his injury risk moving forward into the NFL.

THE MEASURABLES

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Here’s how Rodgers measured at the senior bowl, with measurements noted by 247Sports.

DYNASTY VALUE

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In the latest DLF March 2021 Rookie Dynasty ADP, Rodgers comes in around WR14 in the early to mid-third round of rookie drafts. I personally have him inside my top 12 wide receiver ranks for 2021 and would be comfortable taking him in the late second round, particularly if he lands in a good scheme that will use him in creative ways and allow him to show off his YAC skill-set.

CONCLUSION

Amari Rodgers has a very good chance of being the 2021 draft class version of Deebo Samuel, used in very creative ways to scheme him the ball and allow him to produce YAC on any given play. I firmly believe that he will become a trusted and reliable target for his new quarterback, making a name for himself as a PPR value in fantasy football drafts.

His quickness, elusiveness, and football intelligence will allow him to succeed at the next level and prove himself worthy of a late second, early third-round draft pick in rookie drafts. He also holds an advantage in the scenario that if he suffers an injury, he has the mental makeup to overcome any challenge he faces and rehabilitate back to form.

jeff mueller
2021 NFL Draft Prospect: Amari Rodgers, WR Clemson