QB Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers
Height: 6-2 Weight: 224 Speed: 4.74
Notes: Prepped at a small school in Northern California (Chico, Calif.) and did not receive a Division I scholarship offer. Attended Butte College (Calif.) in 2002 and completed 164-of-265 pass attempts (61.9 percent) for 2,408 yards with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. Caught the attention of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford and transferred to Berkeley in '03 — played all 13 games, starting the final nine, and passed 215-349-2,903-19-5 (61.6). Had arthroscopic knee surgery in January '04, but started all 12 games in the fall and tossed 209-316-2,566-24-8 (66.1). Opted to forgo his final season of eligibility and was selected by the Packers in the first round (24th overall) of the 2005 draft. Served as Brett Favre's backup from 2005-07, managing 35-59-329-1-1 (59.3) in seven total appearances. Broke his left foot in November '06. Took ownership of the starting job in '08 and has started all 39 games since, producing 841-1,312-10,313-70-29 (64.1) while being sacked 98 times. During the '08 season, signed a five-year contract extension through the 2014 season that included $20 million guaranteed. Rodgers, who made his first Pro Bowl in '09, is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.
Positives: Has a compact, explosive release and quick feet, allowing him to set up and get rid of the ball in a hurry. Calculated decision maker with good eyes, field vision and pocket accuracy. Very good arm strength to push the ball downfield, and spins a tight, catchable spiral. Sneaky athletic to sidestep the rush. Is not easily rattled by pressure and shows a very calm, composed on-field demeanor. Is tough and will play through injuries and has not missed a start since Brett Favre departed. Is only 26 years old and loaded with upside.
Negatives: Does not have a strong stature. Is too mechanical, does not have a keen internal clock and too often sits back in the pocket mesmerized reading coverage and holds on to the ball too long, taking unnecessary sacks. Accuracy diminishes on the move and too often throws wildly when he cannot set his feet. Can be perceived as being too smug and rub some the wrong way. Forced the ball into double coverage in a 16-13 overtime loss against Washington, holds an 0-5 overtime record and must still prove that he can handle pressure in the playoffs.
Summary: Patiently waited three years learning the Packers' offense under the tutelage of QB coach Tom Clements and QB connoisseur Mike McCarthy before taking over for Favre in 2008. Has benefited from a strong supporting cast of receivers in a high-percentage, West Coast passing attack featuring a lot of slants, digs and quick-hitting, short passes that have inflated his production. Is technically sound and very efficient at what he is asked to do, distributing the ball very well, but must still prove that he can handle the pressure of playing on the biggest of stages and that he's capable of leading the Packers in the postseason.