Seventeen months after the Green Bay Packers used a third round draft pick on Amari Rodgers, it’s probably too soon to write off the wideout/return man.
But it’s getting close.
The Packers traded a third- and fourth round pick — selections 92 and 135 — to jump up to No. 85 and take Rodgers.
After 17 games in a Green Bay uniform, Rodgers has four receptions and has been a below average kick and punt returner.
When asked about Rodgers earlier this week, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said plenty by saying virtually nothing.
“Yeah, he’s returning for us now,” Aaron Rodgers said. “That’s all I got on it.”
Amari Rodgers had a dreadful rookie season in which he played just 103 snaps (9.2%). Rodgers caught just four passes and looked slow and sluggish during his limited opportunities.
Rodgers also averaged just 18.1 yards per kickoff return and 8.3 yards per punt return.
Rodgers lost eight pounds this offseason and lowered his body fat by 4% leading to optimism he could give Green Bay’s subpar receiving group a boost. Instead, Rodgers didn’t play a snap in the Packers’ Week 1 loss at Minnesota.
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur didn’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of Amari Rodgers when asked.
“I think it’s going to be game by game,” LaFleur said of playing time for Rodgers. “And when he gets those opportunities, he’s going to have to maximize them in order to get more. Unfortunately, he didn’t get any this last game, but it’s definitely going to be week-to-week.”
Amari Rodgers said this week he recently deleted his Twitter account. That was probably smart.
But he still knows he needs to win the respect and trust of his quarterback — something that clearly hasn’t happened to date.
“That’s just the truth. I haven’t earned his trust,” Amari Rodgers said of Aaron Rodgers. “The only way I can do that is being consistent day-in and day-out, being consistent in the offense. But that’s my role — I’m the return guy right now. I’m just focused on trying to make a spark. And I feel like once I do make a spark in the return game — or continue to do that, like I did in the preseason — then more opportunities will open up for me.
“That’s what I’m locked in on right now, being consistent in the return game, and hopefully that creates more opportunities for me in the offense. And in practice, being consistent with the small details and making plays with 12 so he can see that I’m making those steps in the right direction.”
Rodgers still has time to turn his Green Bay career around. If that doesn’t happen, though, he’ll rank among the worst draft picks of general manager Brian Gutkunst’s five-year tenure.
Here are the biggest draft busts of the Gutekunst-era.
1. J’MON MOORE, WR
Moore was a fourth round pick in 2018, the first of three receivers Gutekunst took in that draft. Moore caught just two passes for 15 yards as a rookie, then was waived in Aug., 2019.
Over the next two years, Moore was on the practice squad of three teams and waived from them all. He’s currently a member of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals.
2. JOSH JACKSON, CB
Jackson was a second round pick in 2018 and the Packers hoped they could pair him with Alexander for years to come. Jackson started 10 games as a rookie and flashed potential, but he was picked on relentlessly in limited snaps the next two seasons.
Jackson was traded to the New York Giants for Isaac Yiadom on Aug. 17, 2021. He never played for the Giants and was waived two months later.
Kansas City and Arizona have both signed and waived Jackson since January. Today, he’s on Pittsburgh’s practice squad.
3. JACE STERNBERGER, TE
Sternberger was a third round draft choice in 2019 who caught just 12 passes in two seasons. He was on the injured list in 2019, the reserve/COVID-19 list in 2020, and suspended after violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy in 2021 before he was waived.
He hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since and is currently out of football.
4. OREN BURKS, ILB
The Packers traded fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2018 draft for Carolina’s third rounder and took Burks. Just 11 linebackers were taken before Burks.
Green Bay gave Burks every opportunity to win a starting linebacker job, but he could never take advantage. He then signed a free agent deal with San Francisco in March.
5. AMARI RODGERS, WR/KR
If Rodgers can’t turn things around, he’ll move up this list. Rodgers knows his career is at an early crossroad, but he remains confident he can turn things around.
“I know what I need to work on,” he said. “Me being my own biggest critic, I know what I need to work on even more. So, just knowing my flaws right now and continuing to work on them, going against our defense every single day on the scout team.
“We have one of the best defenses in the league, and if I make plays versus them, then maybe (Aaron Rodgers will) see, ‘OK, he may be ready.’ And that may open up more opportunities, too. So just finding any way I can show them that I’m making steps in the right direction, that’s really what I’m focused on right now.”