Before Aaron Rodgers became the star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, he had been a promising prospect at the University of California, Berkeley. Rodgers had positioned himself to be one of the first draft picks taken in the 2005 draft, but things played out in a manner that saw him have to wait to much longer than anticipated. Over the years, it has been well-documented the experience that Rodgers had becoming the last player in the vaunted green room, which was something that nobody had anticipated transpiring on that day 15 years ago.
Aaron Rodgers collegiate career
Rodgers had an interesting path at the collegiate level that saw him spend his first two years at Butte Community College in Oroville, California.
Following that, he spent his final two eligible seasons at the University of California, Berkeley, where he developed into one of the nation’s top quarterback talents. Rodgers put forth a solid junior year in 2004 that saw him throw for 2,566 yards with 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions on a Pac-10 best 66.1% completion percentage.
Rodgers put himself into the 2005 draft class that he headlined as one of the top quarterbacks alongside Utah’s Alex Smith and Auburn’s Jason Campbell. He was in a promising spot with the chance to become the first overall pick and be selected by his favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers.
However, as it turned out, Rodgers’ hopes would be crushed in a memorable fashion that has forever shaped his NFL career.
Aaron Rodgers falls to 24th overall pick
In the weeks before the 2005 NFL draft, it was widely known that Rodgers was eyeing playing for the 49ers.
It was the team that he grew up supporting, having been born and raised in the nearby area in Chico, California. That put forth some high hopes for him to receive that honor from San Francisco in what was his dream scenario.
Despite those pieces being in place, it didn’t play out in that manner as his hopes were crushed from the get-go. The 49ers elected to go with Smith with the top overall selection. From that point, things continued to progress south for Rodgers as he had to wait over four hours to hear his name called in the first round.
A total of 21 teams passed on the former Cal standout before the Packers elected to take him with the 24th overall selection. It put him behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre as he eventual successor and wrapped up what was a disappointing yet memorable situation that has shaped his career.
Aaron Rodgers believes he landed in the right spot
The 2005 NFL draft brings up a harsh memory for Rodgers that is revisited yearly, but it’s a situation that worked out favorably in his manner.
He walked into a circumstance that saw him not have to step in immediately as the starter. That allowed him to learn from the sidelines and work on perfecting his mechanics and study habit, which, when he received his chance to start in his fourth year, he was beyond ready for the opportunity. (H/T Jason Wilde of The Athletic)
“I’m so glad. It’s the butterfly effect. Who knows what would have happened had I gone No. 1? Or 3 to Cleveland or 5 to Tampa Bay or 8 to Arizona or 15 to New Orleans? Yeah. It would have been a lot different. I get it. Or 23 to Oakland? Because they traded up. I get it. I’m so fortunate and appreciative, the way it worked out. And also, I needed a little bit of that humility as well. I think that’s never a bad thing. I’m very fortunate.
Rodgers has put together an illustrious career that will one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has earned numerous accolades such as a Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, two regular-season MVP awards, eight Pro Bowl selections, and two First-Team nods, among other honors.
Although Rodgers may have wanted to go the 49ers, it could have unfolded any better for him put forth the career he has over the last 15 years.