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Richard Rodgers was the first Cal player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft on Friday.
Courtesy: Cal Athletics
Green Bay Takes Richard Rodgers in Third Round of 2014 NFL Draft
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  05/09/2014

NEW YORK CITY – Former Cal tight end/wide receiver Richard Rodgers was selected Friday by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 98th pick overall. Rodgers, who played three seasons at Cal from 2011-13, was the first Cal player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. His third-round selection gives Cal at least one selection in the first three rounds for eight consecutive seasons.

Rodgers played in 35 of 37 possible games while starting 11 games during three seasons at Cal from 2011-13. He finished his career with 59 receptions for 896 yards receiving (15.2 ypr) and two touchdown catches. Rodgers had his best campaign as a junior in 2013 when he totaled career highs of 39 receptions and 608 yards receiving to rank third on the team in both categories while matching his single touchdown reception from the previous season. He had 20 catches for 288 yards as a 2012 sophomore.

The first three rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City were conducted Thursday and Friday with the draft scheduled to conclude Saturday with the fourth through seventh rounds starting at 9 a.m. PT. Visit CalBears.com for coverage of the selections of former Cal football players. ESPN and NFL Network will televise the event live with online live streaming also available at nfl.com/live.

Rodgers is one of three former Cal players along with DT Deandre Coleman and LB Khairi Fortt that were among the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects that attended the NFL Combine in February.
Other former Cal players who completed their collegiate eligibility in 2013 and are eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft that have attended local pro days hosted by both Cal and the San Francisco 49ers include RB Brendan Bigelow, OL Mark Brazinski, PK Vincenzo D’Amato, CB Kameron Jackson, LB/DE Chris McCain and DT Viliami Moala.

In addition to draft selections, many players who are not drafted typically join NFL rosters shortly after the NFL Draft by signing undrafted free agent contracts.

Suggested hashtags for Twitter users tweeting about the event are #NFL, #NFLDraft and #CalNFLDraft.

Richard Rodgers Conference Call Transcript

On playing wide receiver rather than tight end at Cal in 2013 contributing to his decision to enter the NFL Draft early
“I think it contributed to my decision a little bit, just because our offense here last year didn’t really use tight ends at all, or very little I should say. It didn’t really concern me. Obviously you see the tight ends now that are in the NFL. A lot of people are playing a style [where the tight end is] off the line. It didn’t worry me at all. That wasn’t a big factor.”

On the feedback he received from NFL teams regarding not playing tight end as a 2013 junior
“There were a lot of questions about blocking. Since my first two years I was playing tight end a lot of teams looked at my sophomore year film if they wanted to see me on the line blocking.”

On going to Green Bay
“I’m just excited to get this opportunity, and I’m ready to get out there. I’m getting out there on Thursday, and I can’t wait to get after it.”

On playing with fellow former Cal player Aaron Rodgers
“I think it’s going to be a great experience. I’m going to get to learn from a veteran quarterback who is one of the best in the league if not the best. I’m going to be kind of learning anything I can. At the tight end position you have to know a lot of things protection-wise and scheme wise, and talking to the quarterback is one of the best ways to learn information about an offense especially as a new player coming in.”
 
On being selected by Green Bay and in the third round
“I really had no idea. You don’t really know that much going into the draft other than crazy things happen. I had no idea and I was just as surprised as anyone else.”

On whether adding weight to play tight end in the past his health
“It wasn’t a problem with my weight that hurt my feet. I actually got hurt against Southern Utah my sophomore year. I partially tore a ligament in my foot. That’s what was causing me the speed problems and the pain in my foot. It wasn’t about my weight. I can play fine at any weight just and be just as athletic. It was just that injury that I had suffered. That’s why I had all the problems.”

On Aaron Rodgers’ tweet welcoming him to Green Bay
“I think that’s fantastic. I don’t have any social media so I wasn’t able to see that, but to hear that is very, very exciting and I can’t wait to get out there and get to work.”

On how it feels to exceed the expectations of where he was projected to be drafted
“I don’t really believe in this stuff on the internet. I’m sure there are lots of people reading things on the internet, but I don’t believe in doing that. It was one of the reasons I don’t have any social media. Wherever I go, I go, and that was my mindset going in. If I went in the last pick in the draft or the third round like I did I was going to bring my work ethic to whatever team [I was picked by] and just play my heart out.”

On the reaction of his father Richard Rodgers Sr. (his father is the special teams coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and a former Cal player)
“Yes, he called me tonight. He talked to my mom and my sister first before me because I was on the phone with the Packers. But I talked to him on the phone and he was very excited. He was just leaving the Panthers’ facility and a lot of people started texting him and calling him, so he was really excited. He’s just happy for me. He really didn’t have words to explain it at the moment but I’m sure I’ll talk to him later on.”

On whether the Panthers and Packers play in 2014
“I don’t know. I’m not sure. If they do that would be very interesting.”
Editors’ note: The Panthers and Packers are scheduled to play in Green Bay on Sunday, October 19.
 
On his ideal playing weight in the NFL
“Probably around 265, I think that’s my ideal weight.”

On not having social media
“I used to have it, and I decided that I didn’t want it anymore so I stopped doing it. I stopped about a year and a half or two years ago now, somewhere around there. I lost count. I don’t find myself looking at my phone for hours.”

On who called him from Green Bay
“I talked to the scout, GM, tight ends coach and offensive coordinator. I talked to everyone. They welcome you and mostly just see if you’re excited and ready to get to work. I’m pretty sure everyone does the same thing. You talk to a bunch of people that were in the room. They said they were excited to have me, and I told them that I was excited to get out there and get to work.”

Cal Football NFL Draft Notes (Updated Through Rodgers Selection)
► Cal had at least four players selected in the NFL Draft each of the last three years (2011-13) and at least two chosen in the first four rounds each of the last four years (2010-13) heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, and how now had at least one selected in the top three rounds each of the past eight years (2007-14).
► Cal has had 26 first-round picks and 225 selections overall since the draft began in 1936.
► Cal has had 52 selections overall and 10 first-round picks in the last 15 drafts that have taken place beginning with the 2000 draft.
► Cal has had four first-round picks in the last six drafts, with at least one each in three consecutive drafts from 2009-11 including two in 2010. Cal has not had a first-round pick since 2011.
► Cal had two players selected in the first or second round of three straight drafts (2010-12) and at least one player selected in the second round or higher six consecutive drafts (2007-12) before those streaks ended in 2013 when Keenan Allen was the first Cal player selected in the third round (76th overall) by the San Diego Chargers.
► Steve Bartkowski (1975) is the only Cal player to ever be selected with the first pick overall in the draft.
► Tyson Alualu (Jacksonville Jaguars, 10th overall, 2010) and Cameron Jordan (New Orleans Saints, 24th overall, 2011) made Cal only the second Pac-10/12 team to ever have defensive linemen selected in the first round in back-to-back drafts (USC is the other).
► Cal became the first Pac-10/12 team in 40 years to have two first-round selections in the same year that no other Pac-10/12 team had a single first-round selection when Tyson Alualu (Jacksonville Jaguars, 10th overall) and Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions, 30th overall) were both first-round selections in 2010. USC’s Al Cowlings (Buffalo Bills, 5th overall) and Sid Smith (Kansas City Chiefs, 26th overall) were both picked in the first round of the 1970 draft, while no other Pac-10 team had a first-round selection.
► The most Cal players selected in a single draft were the 10 chosen in 1952, while Cal's six players selected in the 1977, 2008 and 2012 NFL Drafts tie for the second-most in school history.
 
Full Richard Rodgers Bio
Richard Rodgers, TE/WR, 6-4, 245, Worcester, MA/St. John’s HS
Rodgers played in 35 of 37 possible games while starting 11 games during three seasons at Cal from 2011-13. He finished his career with 59 receptions for 896 yards receiving (15.2 ypr) and two touchdown catches. Rodgers had his best campaign as a junior in 2013 when he totaled career highs of 39 receptions and 608 yards receiving to rank third on the team in both categories while matching his single touchdown reception from the previous season. He had 20 catches for 288 yards as a 2012 sophomore.

After Cal
► Selected by the Green Bay Packers in the third round (98th pick overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft
► Entered the 2014 NFL Draft as an underclassman, foregoing his final season of collegiate eligibility at Cal
► Participated at the 2014 NFL Pro Scouting Combine, ranking tied for sixth among  tight ends in the broad jump (9’8”), ninth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.47), 11th in the vertical jump (31.5”), 12th in the 40-yard dash (4.87) and 13th in the bench press with 16 repetitions of 225 pounds
► Also participated at the 2014 Cal Pro Timing Day and San Francisco 49ers Pro Day

Cal Career (2011-13)
► Played in 35 of 37 possible games with 11 starts during three seasons from 2011-13, finishing his career with 59 receptions for 896 yards receiving (15.2 ypr) and two touchdown catches, as well as seven rushes for nine yards, and one kick return for five yards to total 910 all-purpose yards
► Also added three tackles one blocked kick
► Had the longest catch of his career with a 75-yard reception vs. Portland State as a 2013 junior and had four catches of 50-plus yards in his career
► Had at least one catch in each of the final 19 games he played in and 20 of the 22 contests he participated in over his last two seasons
► Played tight end for his first two seasons from 2011-12 before moving to inside receiver for his final campaign in 2013
► Wore uniform No. 11 for his final two seasons in 2012 and 2013 after being No. 82 in his first season with the program in 2011

Junior (2013)
► Posted career highs of 39 receptions and 608 yards receiving to rank third on the team in both categories while matching his single touchdown catch from the previous season over 11 games played and five starts
► Had the team’s highest yards per reception average (15.6 ypr) among its top eight receivers and was fourth overall
► Posted two of his three career 100-yard receiving games with a season-high 125 yards on five catches against Stanford in the season finale and four catches for 100 yards against Portland State, with the longest two catches of his career also against the Vikings (75-yard TD) and the Cardinal (62 yards) that were the team’s second and third-longest catches of the season
► Registered a career-high-tying seven catches for 71 yards against Washington
► Had receptions and receiving yards in other games against Oregon State (6-68), Washington State (4-85), Northwestern (4-38), UCLA (3-34), Oregon (2-38), Arizona (2-24), Colorado (1-20) and Ohio State (1-5)
► Had at least one catch in all 11 games he played in
► Recorded at least one catch of 20 or more yards in nine of 11 games and had a team-high total of 11 receptions of 20 or more yards
► Added nine rushing yards on seven carries with all of the yards and carries other than one including a career-long five-yard run coming against UCLA for a total of 617 all-purpose yards
► Also picked up two tackles with both coming against Washington State
► Dropped 30 pounds from 275 to 245 from the previous season in his first campaign as an inside receiver after playing tight end the previous two seasons
► Ranked as the nation’s No. 26 draft eligible tight end by Phil Steele prior to the season
► Named to the preseason College Football Performance Awards Offensive Awards Watch List for the Tight End Trophy
► Missed all of spring practices due to injury

Sophomore (2012)
► Played in 11 games including the first six starts of his career, recording 20 receptions for 288 yards receiving and a career-high-tying one touchdown
► Ranked first on the team among regulars and second overall with an average of 14.4 yards per catch, while he was third in yards receiving, tied for third in touchdown catches and fourth in receptions
► Had at least one catch in each of the final eight games and nine of the 11 contests he played in overall
► Posted a career-high-tying seven receptions and a career and team-high 129 yards receiving with one catch going for 50 yards and another for 42 to help lead Cal to a victory over South Division champion UCLA
► Caught three balls for 76 yards and his first career touchdown on a seven-yard reception at Utah, with one of his catches going for a season-high 51 yards
► Named an honorable mention College Football Performance Awards Tight End Performer of the Week after his performances both vs. UCLA and at Utah
► His 51, 50 and 42-yard catches were the second, third and fifth-longest catches of the season by a Cal player
► Also had multiple catches in games versus Oregon State (3-15) and Arizona State (2-14)
► Had the first catch of his career against Southern Utah (14 yards) and added single receptions in contests against Washington (23 yards), Washington State (seven yards), Oregon (six yards) and Stanford (four yards)
► Recorded the first tackle of his career in the season opener against Nevada
► A preseason candidate for the John Mackey Award given annually to the nation’s top tight end
► Helped out with punting drills during the spring when the team was short on punters

Freshman (2011)
► One of only three true freshmen to play in all 13 games along with Mustafa Jalil and Viliami Moala, getting in all of his action off the bench
► Contributed the team’s lone blocked kick of the season when he blocked a punt vs. Presbyterian
► Had one kick return for five yards in the regular-season finale at Arizona State
► Named the nation’s No. 26 freshman tight end by Phil Steele prior to the season
 
Other
► Full name is Richard Christopher Rodgers II
► Born January 22, 1992
► Parents are Richard Sr. and Mindy Rodgers
► Garnered four and a half stars from Tom Lemming, while being given three by ESPN, Rivals and Scout as a member of the 2011 recruiting class
► Played wide receiver and defensive end as a prep but was recruited to Cal as a tight end, where he was listed among the best in the nation by Rivals (No. 24) and ESPN (No. 34)
► Listed as the No. 9 athlete nationally according to Lemming and the No. 168 player overall
► Checked in as the nation's No. 65 receiver according to Scout
► Listed as the No. 3 player overall in the state of Massachusetts by Rivals
► A SuperPrep All-Region player who was tabbed by the media outlet as the No. 6 player in the New England area
► Father is a former Cal football player who was prominently involved in "The Play" in the 1982 Big Game (given credit for calling “The Play” and making the final of five laterals), and went on to play in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, had collegiate coaching stops at Diablo Valley College, San Jose State, Portland State, New Mexico State and Holy Cross, picked up professional coaching experience in the NFL’s minority internship program with the Oakland Raiders and the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe, and is now the special teams coordinator with the Carolina Panthers under former Cal teammate and current Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera


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