April 23, 2005
BERKELEY - Aaron Rodgers, Cal's record-setting quarterback who guided the Bears to a 17-5 record as a starter, was taken with the 24th pick of the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers, the second quarterback selected Saturday, is the fifth Cal QB to go in the first round and second to be chosen by Green Bay, joining Rich Campbell who was taken by the Packers with the sixth pick of the 1981 draft.
Other Cal quarterbacks to be drafted in the opening round were Craig Morton (1964, Dallas), Steve Bartkowski (1975, Atlanta) and Kyle Boller (2003, Baltimore).
Overall, Rodgers is the 21st Bear to go in the first round and the 11th since 1993.
"I'm sure it was a long day for Aaron," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "If he didn't go in the first five, a lot of teams didn't need quarterbacks. Knowing Aaron, I'm sure he'll take it as motivation. It's still not bad - first round draft pick and second quarterback taken. There's probably not a better guy to learn from than Brett Favre."
Rodgers, who played two seasons at Cal before declaring for the draft after his junior year, earned first team All-Pac-10 honors in 2004 after completing 209-of-316 passes (66.1 percent) for 2,556 yards and 24 touchdowns. His final career numbers were 424-of-665 (63.8%) for 5,469 yards and 43 TDs with only 13 interceptions.
"It was difficult," Rodgers said of his long wait in New York before hearing his name called. "We hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. I couldn't be more excited. I'm excited for the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all time (Favre)."
Rodgers posted the best career passing efficiency rating in school history with a 150.27 mark, and his 154.3 rating in 2004 stood No. 8 among all NCAA passers and ranked as the second-best ever at Cal (164.5, Dave Barr, 1993). He tied the NCAA single-game consecutive completions record at USC last Oct. 9, connecting on his first 23 attempts (also: Tee Martin, Tennessee vs. South Carolina, 1998) and set a new NCAA overall consecutive completions record with 26 straight (three at Oregon State and 23 at USC), breaking Martin's 1998 record of 24
Rodgers also led an offensive unit that ranked No. 5 in the NCAA for total offense (492.42 ypg), No. 6 in rushing offense (256.75 ypg) and No. 7 in scoring offense (36.75 ppg), the second-highest scoring offense ever in Cal football's modern history.
In addition, Rodgers is the sixth Tedford-coached QB to be taken in the first round of the draft, with the others being Trent Dilfer (6th overall, Tampa Bay, 1994), Akili Smith (3rd, Cincinnati, 1999), David Carr (1st, Houston, 2002), Joey Harrington (3rd, Detroit, 2002) and Boller (19th, Baltimore, 2003).