He threw for 24 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in his last college season, impressing many NFL scouts. The 49ers, however, drafted quarterback Alex Smith out of Utah instead, and Rodgers slid all the way down to the 24th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers.
They commented that he was a "talented strong-armed junior" who "combines arm strength, mechanics and delivery to make all the throws", but noted that his stats could be inflated due to playing in a quarterback-friendly system and that he would need to adjust to the more elaborate defensive schemes of the NFL. Rodgers has said that he experienced much angst and restlessness when waiting to be selected several hours into the draft, as he had expected himself to be selected much sooner.
After Texas was picked over Cal for a Rose Bowl berth, the fourth-ranked Bears were awarded a spot in the Holiday Bowl, which they lost to Texas Tech, 45–31.
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Because of Rodgers's good high school scholastic record, he was eligible to transfer after one year of junior college instead of the typical two.
Rodgers passed for 394 yards and was named game MVP in the Insight Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Many teams drafting between the second and 23rd positions had positional needs more pressing than quarterback.
Rodgers spent his rookie season with the 4-12 Packers as the Packers' backup quarterback behind Brett Favre.
After backing up Brett Favre for the first three years of his NFL career, Rodgers became the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback in 2008 and led them to a victory in Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 NFL season; Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP.
He was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year in 2011, twice in passer rating (2011, 2012), touchdown passing percentage (2011, 2012) and lowest passing interception percentage (2009, 2014), and once in touchdown passes (2016) and yards per attempt (2011).
Rodgers was expected to be selected early in the 2005 NFL Draft as he had posted impressive numbers as a junior with Cal, throwing for 2,320 yards with a 67.5 completion rating in the regular season.
He had tied an NCAA record when he completed 23 consecutive passes against the eventual national champion USC.
Rodgers had wanted to attend Florida State and play under Bobby Bowden, but was rejected.