There’s an age old phrase with NFL GM’s, “the best time to draft a quarterback is when you don’t need one.” History repeated itself in 2020, as it did in 2005, when the Green Bay Packers drafted Jordan Love.
Despite what GM Brian Gutekunst told the media, they believe Love is the next franchise quarterback, which is why they would trade up to take him while they still have a future Hall of Famer under center. In 2005, it was Aaron Rodgers who slid to into the Packers lap at 24 and, 15 years later, the Packers move up a few picks to get Love out of Utah State.
Jordan Love Positives for Packers
The biggest initial benefit of taking Love in the first round is going to be his contract. Being a first-round pick, Love will have a fifth-year option, which will give him time to develop under Rodgers, while also not rushing Aaron out of town. You also get a degree of certainty at the backup position that truly hasn’t been there since Rodgers was the back up behind Favre.
Since Rodgers took over as starter, his backups have been Matt Flynn (seventh round pick), Seneca Wallace (lasted one game before getting hurt and ultimately retiring), Scott Tolzien (undrafted journeyman, who will best known for handing the ball off at Wisconsin), Brett Hundley (fifth-round pick whose struggles in Green Bay were well documented), DeShone Kizer (part of the 0-16 Browns) and Tim Boyle (undrafted free agent out of Eastern Kentucky). Needless to say, its not the prettiest picture.
Love has a cannon for an arm and has a similar play style to Patrick Mahomes and, of course, Packers legend Brett Favre. He can expand the pocket with his feet and is able to keep drives alive by finding a receiver or running, much like Rodgers. When Love is on, his natural ability to throw the ball and find windows to place the ball makes him one of the top prospects of this draft.
Jordan Love Concerns for Packers
Love is by no means a perfect quarterback. He threw 17 interceptions in 2019 due, in part, to struggling in adapting to a new offense with limited weapons. He can lock in and stare at a receiver a little too often. Much like Favre, he has questionable decision-making and might trust his arm a little too much. Like Rodgers, there are also some concerns with his mechanics. Rodgers had issues with how high he held the ball, and Love has a looping wind up that slows his throwing motion.
While these concerns can be addressed, a big concern may be how Rodgers reacts to the situation. Rodgers has said that no one is close to beating him out for the starting job now, but it still can be less than comforting that the team you signed a massive extension for is also looking for your replacement. Several other high-caliber quarterbacks have been less than coy about their feelings about their team drafting “the future,” such as Favre when Rodgers was drafted. That said, Rodgers was in Love’s shoes at one point and could very realistically work with him, unlike his predecessor.
Ultimately, it’s still Aaron Rodgers at the helm for the foreseeable future. Being able to work with LaFleur for the next few years, the Packers have plenty of time to work on Jordan Love’s issues.