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The Aaron Rodgers Argument

by Eric Tellez for NFLMIX.com

There's nothing more frustrating than watching the Green Bay Packers achieve success with a group of 49er fans that can not get over not taking quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the 1st pick of the 2005 draft. "We could of had that guy", "Alex Smith? What were we thinking?," and "That could of been us in the Super Bowl!" were three of the favorites I heard the most and wanted to comment on today. I know I'm going stir-up a little anger here but I still believe Alex Smith was the better choice and if you give me the chance, without having me committed, I'll tell you why.

If we go back in time to the 2004 season, a season that had us going 2-14, the 49er nation was developing a deep love interest in Southern Cal quarterback Matt Leinart. The Heisman Trophy winner had all the looks and sounds of a franchise quarterback in control of an NFL style system in an NFL style locker room. But then something happening, Leinart decided that we wanted to return to USC to "chase history" when in reality he wasn't "chasing" as much as he was "running" away from the 49ers. Now scorned, where could the 49ers look for help? The answer, not many places.

When you look back at the 2005 draft 17 QBs total were taken with 7 still in the league 5-years later. Those remaining are:

Jason Campbell, now with the Raiders after being drafted in the first round by the Redskins with the 25th pick, one after Rodgers. But keep in mind, the Redskins also had the #9 selection and took cornerback Carlos Rogers. The Redskins passed on Aaron Rodgers.

Kyle Orton went to the Bears with the 106th selection in the 4th round. The Bears had the #4 selection in the 1st round and went with runningback Cedric Benson. The Bears also passed on Aaron Rogers.

Derek Anderson was taken by the Baltimore Ravens with the 213rd pick in the 6th round. He spent one season on the Ravens practice squad and then signed with the Cleveland Browns the following season. After 5-seasons in Cleveland Anderson went to the Arizona Cardinals. What do all THREE of these teams have in common? THEY ALL PASSED ON AARON RODGERS. Baltimore took WR Mark Clayton, Cleveland took WR Braylon Edwards, and Arizona took cornerback Antrel Rolle.

Are the pieces coming together? Aaron Rodgers, for whatever reason, was passed-up by 23 teams with at least half of those teams unsettled at quarterback at the time of the draft. So what happened?

Green Bay took Rodgers and sat him. For two seasons, while Brett Favre was running around throwing picks and pull blocking on sweeps, Rodgers watched, studied, and practiced. When the time was right he was brought into the mix with a proven offensive system, veteran receivers, and a veteran offensive coordinator. Now it's 4-years later and Rodgers, with this same system, same receivers, and same coordinator are on their way to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers is the sum answer to what happens when you add talent with stability.

If Aaron Rodgers had to deal with the 49ers offensive system and coordinator changes, inconsistent offensive line, and mix-and-match receiver corps he would be what we now, and unfortunately forever, will remember Alex Smith as.

Till next time, email me at footballfreepress@yahoo.com to talk 49ers or football anytime. Hope to be back soon with a draft preview.


  1. From a getting himself ready to play in the NFL standpoint Rodgers walked into the most perfect situation in NFL history likely. Favre in his later years wasn't the party animal he was before, he studied game film and new a ton about the offense who better to learn from even if Favre and Rodgers didn't get along. Every team in the NFL somehow also screwed up on how mobile he was, if any team knew that every team needing a QB or not would have picked him as he started to fall. Thompson in Green Bay is clearly a better evaluator of NFL talent than most, he pulled Mathews and that Raji guy out of the same first round like holy smokes.

  2. I agree with you 100% about the Packer talent evaluation. Gordy Nelson, John Kuhn, James Sparks, the list goes on-and-on with small names making big impacts.