Packers draft 2 new targets for QB Aaron Rodgers
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Now that Davante Adams has been drafted by the Packers, the prolific receiver will have to settle for quality over quantity.
Having Aaron Rodgers throwing passes his way will be a nice consolation prize, though.
With the top tight ends snapped up, Green Bay went with the Fresno State standout in the second round Friday night with the 53rd overall pick to fortify a receiving corps that lost James Jones to free agency.
Then general manager Ted Thompson drafted another guy named Rodgers in the third round — from California, no less, just like the famous quarterback.
Tight end Richard Rodgers is going to love playing in Green Bay.
They were drafted nine years apart, the quarterback in 2005 in the first round. Fellow former Golden Bear Richard Rodgers went to Green Bay with the team’s second pick in the third round on Friday night, the 98th overall.
The 6-foot Rodgers had 39 catches for 608 yards and a touchdown in 11 games in 2013. At Cal, he was often used in motion and also saw time in the slot.
Adams had 131 catches for 1,718 yards and 24 touchdowns last year in Fresno State’s high-octane offense run by quarterback Derek Carr, himself selected in the second round by the Raiders.
Now, Adams will be learning from the 2011 NL MVP.
“I couldn’t imagine being in a better place,” Adams said.
He joins a Packers receiving corps led by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Jarrett Boykin also emerged last year as a target after Cobb got hurt.
Say goodbye for now to 100-catch seasons. Still, Adams’ confidence remained high on the most momentous day yet of his young career.
“I feel like I’m one of the best playmakers in the draft, being able to catch the ball deep, or being able to catch on short routes,” he said. “I feel like I’m one of the best red-zone threats in the draft.”
The Packers might feel good given their recent success in the second with receivers, including Nelson (2008), Cobb (2011) and former wideout Greg Jennings.
Tight end may have been a more pressing need for Green Bay, but there was a run on that position earlier in the second round. Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins went early in the round to the Buccaneers. Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro went to the Jets and the Cardinals took Troy Niklas a pick before the Packers went.
Thompson seemed happy with Richard Rodgers, the son of Carolina Panthers special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers, Sr. He called Rodgers a good athlete with “good genetics, we think he’s going to be a good addition to this group of tight ends.”
Thompson said the drafting of Rodgers isn’t necessarily linked to the future of free agent tight end Jermichael Finley, who suffered a season-ending spinal cord injury last season. The Packers did re-sign Andrew Quarless and have three other tight ends on the roster who played last season.
The Packers had two third-round picks, and selected Khyri Thortnon, a three-year starter at Southern Mississippi, with the 85th overall pick. The team likes his versatility and competitiveness on a team that didn’t win much.
The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Thornton had 39 tackles in 11 games in 2013. The senior finished his career with 116 tackles and 5.5 sacks. An NFL.com analysis said Thornton plays with a motor, and can play inside but also along the line of scrimmage.
The Packers in the offseason re-signed veteran B.J. Raji and signed ex-Vikings tackle Letroy Guion in free agency. Coach Mike McCarthy hoped to add impact players to the defense.
Green Bay drafted Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round Thursday.
They’re hoping the 6-foot Adams can make a similar impact on the other side of the ball. Adams averaged 116 yards receiving per game, eighth-best in NCAA history. The third-year sophomore doesn’t turn 22 until December.
In just two years at Fresno State, Adams had 233 catches for 3,030 yards and 38 scores. An NFL.com scouting report listed Adams as having the top vertical jump for receivers at the scouting combine at 39.5 inches.
“You love how he’s a competitor,” Packers receivers coach Edgar Bennett said. “Catching ability, good hands, makes the tough catch and goes up and catches the football. Extremely productive.”