Leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 20 Atlanta Falcons on the 2012 roster.
Second-year running back Jacquizz Rodgers turned heads last season as rookie. He carried the ball 57 times for 205 yards and caught 21 passes for another 188 yards. He also scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Rodgers peaked the interest of the coaching staff last season as he quickly learned the system and became more relevant to the offense as the season progressed.
Oddly enough, both Alex and I had Rodgers ranked at No. 20 on our individual lists.
20. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB
Alex Welch’s opinion:
His rookie season wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but Jacquizz Rodgers will be much more of a factor in 2012. Last year in Mike Mularkey’s offense Quizz was underutilized. There’s already been plenty of promise of him seeing more action going forward, and he is sure to impress us all.
Think back to the Falcons second game against the Panthers in 2011 and recall the wheel route where Rodgers scored his first NFL touchdown. He clearly has the skills to make an impact in the air as well as carrying the ball a handful of times each game. With Dirk Koetter actually wanting to run screen plays with the Falcons, something they could have been doing all last season, Quizz is sure to shine in his second pro season.
Knox Bardeen’s opinion:
Rodgers will definitely see an uptick in his action with the ball in 2012, and it’s not just because the Falcons have mentioned—as they do each season, seemingly—that they will limit Michael Turner‘s carries. I expect Rodgers to touch the ball between 120-150 times this season, which would be almost a 100 percent increase from 2011.
Last season, head coach, Mike Smith said he felt that Rodgers could become an every-down back in the NFL. That won’t happen this season, but Rodgers has earned the right to see a huge jump in action. And as Alex said above, Dirk Koetter’s screen game will benefit Rodgers dramatically.