04 Sep Preseason Scouting Notes: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Senior | 5’10” 210 lbs | Knoxville, TN
A stocky wide receiver who possesses natural hands and running-back-like agility, though he needs to fight off contact quicker
Amari Rodgers is a rising senior who plays wide receiver for the Clemson Tigers’ RPO-friendly offense. So far, he has started 25 of the 43 games he played in, totaling 99 receptions, 1,070 yards (10.8 YPC), and 8 touchdowns. Last year, he finished 4th on the team in receptions (30) and yards (426), and finished 3rd on the team in receiving touchdowns (4). He also returns punts for the Tigers, totaling 59 returns, for 465 yards (7.9 ypr), and 1 touchdown going into 2020. Despite tearing his ACL in the spring before the 2019 season, he only ended up missing the season opener (5 months of recovery). Clemson utilizes Rodgers both on the inside and the outside, but Rodgers’ frame best suits that of a slot receiver. Rodgers is one of five Clemson players since the turn of the millennium to score a touchdown as a rusher, a receiver, and a returner.
– Strong hands that allow him to cleanly pluck his catches out of the air
– Quick-twitch movements help him obtain a clean release against soft press defenders
– Acceleration to top-end speed is above average. Can outrun more defenders than not on deep routes and after the catch
– Elusive ball-carrier who is capable of making guys miss in open space. Shows calculated decision-making with his arsenal of moves against incoming defenders
– Shows active attention to ball security by naturally switching ball to outside hand
– Willing blocker who gives effort when the play is around him
Areas to Improve:
– Must improve play strength as he will get held up by physical defenders at the LOS or in the open field
– Shorter catch radius and lack of physicality does not make him a liable receiver in contested catch situations
– Needs to be more consistent at creating separation on shorter routes
– Simple route tree consisting mainly of quick routes. Primarily used as a decoy to stretch the defense
– Smaller frame limits positional value to slot only
– Not a very effective blocker. Easily out-leveraged in open field
– Torn Right ACL (Spring 2019) – 1 Game Missed
Despite being hidden on the depth chart through the years behind receivers like Hunter Renfrow, Deon Cain, Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins, Rodgers still managed to shine. That is because he is such a versatile athlete,that Dabo finds ways to get him the ball, be it through jet sweeps, screens, or deep shots. His negatives mainly include his size relative to catch radius and his lack of physicality to create separation quickly. However, his skill set is a threat in itself and will stretch the defense. He has sure, natural hands and does not typically reel in catches with his chest. His great acceleration and speed gives him the chance to get behind the defense. He looks like a running back with the ball in his hands after the catch with his vision, agility, and quickness. Rodgers projects as an early Day 3 pick, but most likely will be a depth wide receiver with special teams value. He will be useful in an offense that needs vertical threats to spread out the defense and create open field for their top targets.
What to Watch in 2020:
Amari Rodgers is small for his position. At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Rodgers’ measurables compare best to running backs like Alvin Kamara, LeSean McCoy, and Christian McCaffery. But with the ball in his possession, he can be nearly as lethal as them. With Tee Higgins drafted into the NFL, and Justyn Ross’ career in jeopardy due to an unfortunate spinal injury, he has a chance to break out in 2020. The most important thing he will need to improve on next year is his ability to fight through contact from defenders. If he gets jammed by the opposition, Trevor Lawrence is going to have to look elsewhere to move the ball downfield. When he does not get jammed at the line, he can create separation with his agility and quickness. He is a receiver that can haul in deep balls on the run, or break loose after the quick catch. It will be telling to see if he can maintain it, and where the majority of his big gains come from.
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- From just outside of Philadelphia, Zach is a passionate fan of his Philly teams.
- A Rutgers graduate in 2017 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice & Psychology, and then Winthrop University in 2019 with a M.S. in Sport & Fitness Administration.
- In 2018, he was an assistant football coach for Chester High School, going undefeated and winning the state championship during his time there.