Former Packers Draft Bust Praised for Performance With New Team

Getty Former Green Bay Packers receiver Amari Rodgers scored his first career touchdown for the Houston Texans.

The Green Bay Packers have whiffed on their third-round picks over the last few years, but one of those third-round busts has found a second chance with a new team in the Houston Texans.

Amari Rodgers was one of the most hated players by Packers fans in recently memory. With almost as many career fumbles as receptions, the outcry to release the second-year pick finally became too much, forcing the Packers to part ways with their 2021 third-round pick.

Fortunately for Rodgers, it didn’t take long for him to get picked up by another team, with Lovie Smith and the Texans claiming him off waivers. While it took him a few weeks to get his feet under him, Rodgers had a breakout performance in Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys, catching four passes for 57 yards and his first career touchdown.

Texans head coach Love Smith praised Rodgers the week after the game, talking about the value that the second-year receiver has brought to Houston.

“Sometimes, we need a second chance,” Smith said according to Aaron Wilson with Pro Football Network. “He’s smart. He’s bright. He’s got ability. Now, his number was called, thought he stepped up to the plate. Looked comfortable.”

That’s high praise from a veteran head coach, and perhaps the confidence boost that Rodgers needs to turn his NFL career around.

Amari Rodgers Was a Playmaker in College

Although Packers fans tend to only remember the negatives about Rodgers, there’s a reason why he was taken in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Rodgers was a 4-star recruit and almost a top-100 player in the 2017 recruiting class coming out of Knoxville, Tennessee. His offers included prestigious programs like USC and Alabama, but Rodgers committed to play for Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers.

The Tigers wide receiver was a key contributor for four seasons at Clemson, appearing in four straight College Football Playoff berths while helping win a national title in 2018. By his senior year, Rodgers was named a first-team All-ACC selection after recording 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns.

Although he was a shorter receiver at 5’9″, Rodgers still had solid size at 212 pounds, making him a difficult player to bring down after the catch in college. Unfortunately, he never had that same kind of role in Green Bay, primarily returning punts with just 16 career receptions for the Packers.

Now, Rodgers has the opportunity to carve out a role for himself in Houston and try to prove Green Bay wrong for cutting ties with him.

Christian Watson is Green Bay’s Next Star WR

Although it didn’t work out for Rodgers in Green Bay, rookie wideout Christian Watson has burst onto the scene for the Packers.

The second-round pick out of North Dakota State got off to a slow start, dropping what would have been a 75-yard touchdown on his first career snap, followed by injuries that kept him off of the field. However, the 6’5″ receiver has finally found his footing as of late, racking up eight total touchdowns over the last four games.

Watson has had a late-season surge to put him in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation, and has also potentially swayed Aaron Rodgers to hold off on retirement. With his big-play ability with his size and speed, Watson has gone from a potential draft bust earlier in the season to one of the most exciting playmakers in football.

With Watson and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs, the Packers have a promising pair of wide receivers for the future.

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