2020 NFL Draft : Packers Take Utah State QB Jordan Love
If you’re a Packer fan, put yourself back in your own shoes after that brutal NFC Championship Game loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers had just finished the season at 13-3 and were a game away from playing in the Super Bowl. You probably would think that in the upcoming offseason, the Packers front office would make moves to make the next step: getting to the Super Bowl and winning it.
The two main needs for the Packers were wide receiver and linebacker. All season long the Green Bay receiving core was exposed for its lack of depth behind Davante Adams. At linebacker, well they just were burned for 300+ yards against a third-string running back in the NFC Championship.
Fast forward to draft week, and it looked like the Packers were in a very good position to fulfill those two needs; the draft’s two best positions were arguably wide receiver and middle linebacker. The draft was loaded with receiver talent, which obviously looked like a positive.
In a night filled with hope and optimism to take the next step in bringing a Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay, the Packers did the unthinkable. They drafted a quarterback. Not only that, they traded UP to draft a quarterback. That quarterback is Jordan Love, out of Utah State.
At first shock. Then, confusion. Then the realization that this was 100 percent the wrong pick.
Here are some thoughts from the Packers first round selection.
- IT DIDN’T IMPROVE THE GREEN BAY PACKERS FOR THIS YEAR!!! As stated earlier, the Packers went 13-3 and finished a game away from the Super Bowl. Lucky for them, their two biggest needs were also arguably the two most talented positions in this year’s draft: wide receiver and linebacker. Whenever, your number two wide receiver is undrafted and was cut from the Jacksonville Jaguars, your going to have a problem. (No offense, Allen Lazard.) And after that brutal NFC Championship Game, the Packer linebackers were exposed. If you don’t like any of the wide receivers available, why not bolster your defense? Either pick would’ve at least helped them improve their chances at a Super Bowl. If they only lost three games with that kind of wide receiver group, imagine what Rodgers could’ve done an extra weapon or two. General Manager Brian Gutekunst is building for the future in a year that is the future. What he built in previous seasons was all for NOW. This was the draft to address your final needs and to make the final push to the Super Bowl. Instead, he decided to build for the future in a year he didn’t have to.
- This was a total slap in the face of Aaron Rodgers. The quarterback who has stated his goal of finishing his career in Green Bay several times was dealt a blow that he really didn’t need. In a year in which Rodgers (and the whole world) was expecting help at the wide receiver position, he got his replacement. Think about what the Packers accomplished last season with Rodgers under center. He went 13-3 while throwing for 26 touchdown passes. Now consider the conditions in which he did it. Last season was the first in a new offensive scheme, so naturally, there were some bumps in the road. Also, the infamous receiver position. After Davante Adams, Rodgers’ options were Lazard, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, and Jake Kumerow. Not exactly the 2011 Sports Illustrated Cover. Rodgers was able to overcome those two obstacles and lead the Packers to title contention. Now think about what more he could accomplish in the upcoming season if the front office filled the whole of the team’s biggest need. Out of Aaron Rodgers twelve years as starting quarterback, this was the year to get him what he needed.
- Jordan Love may not have even been the best quarterback choice for the Packers. Coming into the draft, the three best quarterback prospects were obviously Joe Burrow, Tua Tagavaoila, and Justin Herbert. After that? A bit of a drop-off. If the Packers really needed a QB they had choices. Realistically, they could’ve taken Love, Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason, or even Jake Fromm. Out of all those guys, Love’s name is easily the least flashy. He played in the Mountain West Conference, for Utah State, and didn’t exactly put up numbers. 20 touchdowns to go with 17 interceptions. I get it, he’s talented, he’s 6’4, and has plenty of upside. And I totally understand Gutekenst’s decision to take a quarterback. Rodgers is getting older, and it is time to start thinking about the future. But is Jordan Love really worth a first-round pick and the fourth-round pick you traded to move up? Why not take Hurts, Eason, or Fromm later in the draft. That way you can pick up what you truly need in the first round, all while building for the future. The 17 interceptions are self-explanatory, and it makes it worse when you consider the fact that he played in only the sixth-best football conference. It’s not like the guy was playing against NFL talent every week. Even if he was, 17 picks in a 13 game season is just unacceptable. Here’s what some anonymous scouts had to say on Love: “I’m not a fan. Everybody else seems to be. Does he make smart decisions? I don’t think so. Average arm strength. Slow decision-maker. I don’t know if he reads coverages. Wide receivers have to work to make tough adjustment catches. Elusive, not fast.” “He got arrested for weed. You don’t want the face of your franchise getting arrested for weed.” “The body language was awful and the accuracy was worse. He didn’t look like he knew what he was doing or that he wanted to play. There were numerous times he’s looking right at an open wideout or a tight end coming right in the middle and the two linebackers are on the hashes and there’s a receiver standing in the middle of the field and he doesn’t throw it to him. Or he throws it to him late. I don’t think he’s correctable.” Man, this is so frustrating writing this.
- Lastly, don’t even compare this situation to the one Green Bay experienced 15 years ago, when the Packers drafted Rodgers as Favre’s apparent future replacement. The Rodgers-Love situation is similar to the Favre-Rodgers, but also drastically different. In 2005, the Packers were becoming increasingly worried by Favre’s tendency to threat retirement. It seemed after the end of the past few seasons, Favre would hint at retirement. Meanwhile, Rodgers has talked about how his biggest goal is to finish his career and retire as a Packer. He loves this franchise and this state. Also, in that 2005 draft, Rodgers was projected by some as the best quarterback in the draft and even the #1 pick. So when he unexpectedly fell all the way to the 24th pick, the Packers had to pull the trigger. In Love’s case, the Packers traded up to take him.