The Packers draft Rodgers' replacement
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The Green Bay Packers shocked the league when they moved up to draft quarterback Jordan Love at 26th overall. Prior to the combine and team workouts Love was widely predicted to be a late day two pick, however, his raw talent impressed numerous teams causing him to rise throughout draft boards. There were rumours linking him to the Chargers at 6th and the Patriots at 23rd but neither materialised leaving him available at 26th for the Packers.
I am torn on how I feel about the pick. Drafting Love was a great move given the Packers ageing quarterback situation, but their following picks begin to make it questionable. Although Aaron Rodgers is undisputedly regressing statistically, he remains a top 5 quarterback in my view. Rodgers led the Packers to a 13-3 record with an unexperienced and depleted receiving core with the exception of Davante Adams. While Rodgers has been criticized for him teams lack of a passing offense which rankled 17th in 2019 his 2nd and 3rd best receivers were running backs Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams, proving not only did he trust his coaches’ scheme but that he also lacked weapons on the outside. So, after drafting Love at 26th I believe the Packers should have traded up to grab a Lavishka Shenault, Denzel Mims or a K.J. Hamler to give their receiving core an invigoration of talent and youth. Instead they drafted running back A.J. Dillon in the 2nd round and tight end Josiah Deguara in the 3rd neither of who will help Rodgers in 2020. Not bringing Rodgers any help just worsens the blow of the Packers drafting his successor. It’s very evident the team are shifting their game away from Rodgers and I’m certain he will be aware of that also. Hence, we could see Rodgers force his way out of Green Bay to a team where he feels he can compete which would force the Packers hand in starting Jordan Love which could be detrimental to his development.
Love is a huge boom or bust prospect which is why taking him in the first-round raised eyebrows. Love's elite arm talent cannot be argued with, he is a natural thrower of the football and can throw a tight spiral from numerous arm angles as well as hitting his receivers on a dime and deep with natural touch and accuracy. However, despite his raw talent a lot of Love’s fundamentals have not been developed. At this stage in his career Love still does not move through his progressions or throw with anticipation, instead he is very much a “see it” quarterback leading to poor decision making.In 2019, Love had 6 games with multiple interceptions as well as 3 pick sixes. Love’s pocket presence and management is in my opinion his largest flaw coming into the NFL and if not developed will be his downfall. While he possesses good poise in the pocket at 6ft 4 he appears unaware of pockets collapsing, to his credit he is willing to stand tall in the pocket despite pressure down the middle and deliver the ball to his receivers down the field whilst getting hit. However, this tendency is high-risk and at the NFL level can often turn into turnovers. As well as being unaware of pocket pressure he voids perfectly viable pockets at times, meaning he steps up into pressures forcing him to throw panicked or hurried throws from bad platforms and stances which in the NFL similar to poor pressure awareness leads to turnovers. Often Love’s mobility bails him out of mistakes in the pocket, however, despite being more athletic than Baker Mayfield I believe similar to Mayfield, Love's athletic mobility will be less impactful in the NFL leading to potential sacks or heavily pressured throws on the move.
Love has a lot of natural raw talent but also a plethora of poor fundamentals. If the Packers are able to develop him, I believe we could see a Mahomes 2.0. However, there is no guarantee he will flourish into that and like many other first-round quarterbacks he could become a bust, throwing into question whether the Packers wasted Rodger's last years.