It’s the middle of the second round, and you’ve already drafted a top tier RB or WR. You’re hoping Larry Fitzgerald or Hakeem Nicks fall to you, but they’ve just been snatched up. The best RBs left on the board are Steven Jackson and Matt Forte, neither of which are very inspiring. There’s a ton of second tier talent at WR, so you don’t want to waste a pick on one of them. And it’s definitely too early to grab a TE. Michael Vick has been grabbed earlier in the second round, so he’s out as well. So what do you do? You grab Aaron Rodgers, the highest scoring QB over the last three years, and laugh all the way to the bank.
Not so fast!
It’s true that Rodgers is a complete lock for 250 passing yards, 20 rushing yards, and 2 TDs a game. It’s true that he’s surrounded by young, explosive talent at all the skill positions, and is not a threat for decline. It’s true that, at only 27 years old, he actually has the potential to improve upon his impressive numbers. Unfortunately, there’s also two scary truths: Rodgers suffered two, possibly three, concussions last year and he gets hit…a lot.
Since taking over the starting job in Green Bay in 2008, Rodgers has been sacked 139 times, hit 152 times, and ran the ball 178 times, for a total of 469 contacts. Now obviously not all of those are bone-crushing hits, as many could be sacks where Rodgers is hauled down, or rushes where he’s slid or ran out of bounds untouched. But, nonetheless, that’s still 469 times that he’s either been contacted or at least put his body in harms way.
What’s worse is that Rodgers has seen his total number of contacts rise from 135 in his first season to a whopping 174 in 2009, and 160 last year. He’s also faced pressure 462 times, meaning the number of contacts aren’t going anywhere soon.The league average in terms of sacks, hits, and pressures over this period of time are 112, 142, and 439, respectively. Since being at the league average in all of these categories in 2008, he’s seen the amount of times he’s been sacked rise to about one more per game above average, the amount of pressures he’s faced rise by about one more per game above average, as well as being hit a couple times more than the average team allows.
These numbers are even more concerning when you consider the fact that Rodgers suffered two known concussions last season, and there’s speculation that he suffered a third, as well. Either way, suffering from multiple concussions, especially in such a short period of time, is a very frightening and real issue that can have lingering and long-lasting effects. Like most injuries, there’s risk associated with repeat occurrence, but the relative unknown surrounding concussions make them a much more frightening injury to encounter.
As a result, you will not find Rodgers or any other Green Bay Packer on my roster. Most will already be overrated after last year’s Super Bowl, and the risk associated is too much for me to pay for. With most Packers relying on Rodgers for a bulk of their production, I will be avoiding the entire situation. Don’t get me wrong, Rodgers is ultra-talented, and I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon, owning him universally during his first two years. But, with the amount of punishment he takes, along with his concussion history and the league’s stricter stance on the issue, I don’t see how he doesn’t get hurt again and be held out of at least a couple games. I’m setting his over/under at 10 games, with Mike Clay’s projections prorated to 2755 yards passing, 230 yards rushing, 7 interception, 20 passing TDs, and 2 rushing TDs over that span.