Monday, April 18, 2005

Sports Illustrated's Take on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers (California)Vital statistics: 6-foot-2, 223 pounds, 4.76 in the 40.Numbers game: Spent one season at Butte (Calif.) College before transferring to Berkeley in 2003. Appeared in 25 games and started 22 of them. Completed 424 of 665 passes for 5,469 yards, with 43 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Carried 160 times for 336 yards and eight touchdowns. Had one reception for 10 yards. Chalked up a 17-5 record as a starter. Completion percentage is the second-best in school history. Tied an NCAA record with 23 straight completions to open the game against Southern California in 2004. Counting the three completions he had against Oregon State the previous week, set an NCAA mark with 26 straight completions. An all-Pac-10 choice in '04.Upside: Makes tough reads and good decisions. Has played in a sophisticated passing game and authored terrific performances against superior teams. Short, compact delivery, and can get the ball from the tee and into the secondary in a blink. Has a fairly consistent release point and throws a very catchable ball. Economical in everything he does. Good feel for where everyone is in the passing tree and has enough confidence to just throw to spots at times. Deceptively quick feet, can slide and get out of trouble, buy himself some time to make a play. Tough and poised, borderline cocky, a good leader whom teammates will follow. Has a nice overall grasp of the game.Downside: Taller than people thought he would be at the combine but still does not have prototype size. Doesn't play as quick as his stopwatch speed and won't make plays with his feet and outside the pocket. Very mechanical, almost robotic at times, in his overall mechanics. Played in an offense that largely emphasized the short and intermediate game and wasn't asked to throw deep very often. Might be more a product of the system in which he plays, and perhaps the latest Jeff Tedford-coached quarterback to fall short at the NFL level.The dish: Yeah, we know he'll likely be the first player selected overall, and that some will be ready to send over the guys with the straitjackets for rating him as only the No. 3 quarterback prospect. Maybe he'll become the first Jeff Tedford protégé to succeed in the NFL, but we're going to wait and see, and maintain a healthy skepticism.

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