Running back Jacquizz Rodgers rounds out the Top 25 of Falcons players. You can see why Rodgers ranks here due to the scoring system.
Total Score: 45
Player Grade: 50 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 1 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 1 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 28 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +2
Positional Bonus: +3
Similar to Jason Snelling, Rodgers ranking isn’t higher simply because there are a lot more proven running backs elsewhere in the league. At this point, the only team he could probably go to and start on is the St. Louis Rams who are expected to feature Daryl Richardson, a similar back.
Rodgers is a quick, explosive tailback that lacks top-end speed. He has a short, very compact build which gives him good power for a player his size (as Earl Thomas can attest), but he’s not a guy that can consistently run over defenders. But he does pick up yards after contact because of his low height allows him to get under undisciplined tackles that try to take him on too high.
Rodgers primary asset to the Falcons in his ability in the passing game. Even with the addition of Steven Jackson, he may still rank as the team’s most potent weapon there due to his big-play ability on screens. As said earlier, Rodgers doesn’t have great top-end speed, but he accelerates quickly which allows him to make the grab and quickly get upfield for maximum yardage on screens. Dirk Koetter reintroduced the screen pass to the offense last year to great effect, as it had been sorely missing for the better part of a decade in Atlanta.
The Falcons will still likely mix in Rodgers frequently in the passing game. But given that Jackson won’t need to be pulled off the field in those situations in the same manner that Michael Turner did, it’s likely going to be less reps. But Rodgers should still have opportunities early in games to spell Jackson. But his 2013 workload may be reminiscent of what it was for most of his rookie season and the early half of 2012, where he may be lucky to see more than three carries in a game.
The key for Rodgers will be taking full advantage of those limited opportunities, providing more big plays both on the ground and in the air when given chances. In two seasons with 151 combined carries, Rodgers has just 2 runs that gained 20 or more yards. In the passing game, he’s caught a total of 74 passes with 3 of them going for 20 or more yards. Ideally, he’ll at least meet if not exceed his career total of plays of 20 or more yards (5 or more), even if he receives less than half the number of his career touches in 2013.