The Green Bay Packers surprised a lot of people by trading up and selecting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
While Love is not expected to play right away, his selection does mean a lot of things for the Packers franchise. Here are five things we learned from the Packers selection of Jordan Love in this year’s draft:
1. GM Brian Gutekunst Really Loves Love
The Packers GM doesn’t just like Jordan Love, he really believes he is a franchise quarterback and the future of the Green Bay Packers. Gutekunst gave up a valuable fourth-round pick to trade up and grab Love despite the Packers obvious and immediate needs at wide receiver, inside linebacker, offensive tackle and along the defensive line.
Gutekunst believes Love is the player he wants to build his team around in the future. He inherited Aaron Rodgers, but he has chosen Jordan Love. Ultimately, how love does in the future will go a long way to establishing Gutekunst’s legacy in Green Bay.
“Playing quarterback in the National Football League is probably the hardest position in all of sports,” Gutekunst said after the draft. “I think whenever you have the ability to take a player, whether it’s in the first round, second round, third round, that you think has a chance to play, you have to consider it. It really wasn’t about this year. This was not something we set out to do. It just happened that a guy that we liked fell to us, and we thought it was the best decision.”
Gutekunst didn’t just take Love when he fell to the Packers, he traded up in order to pick him. Clearly, the Packers are staking their future on this pick.
2. Aaron Rodgers’ Time in Green Bay Is Going to End
Not right away, mind you, but the end is in sight. You don’t pick a quarterback in the first round without the intent to play him.
Rodgers has four years left on his contract, but the team can release him after three years without taking a very big cap hit. For lack of a better way to put it, Rodgers’ is now “on the clock” and the countdown has begun to the post-Rodgers era in Green Bay.
It is likely Love sits for three years much like Rodgers did under Favre from 2005-2007. Then, unless Rodgers plays off the charts for the Packers for the next three seasons, he will likely be done in Green Bay soon after that.
Gutekunst himself admitted Love needs time to develop. “We think a lot of him,” Gutekunst told reporters Thursday night. “Down the road he certainly has all the ability to be a difference-maker. But these things take time, especially at that position. He has a lot of work ahead of him.”
3. How Will Rodgers Treat Love?
Rodgers has admitted that Favre was not very nice to him when he first arrived in Green Bay. The veteran viewed the rookie as a competition for his job and did little to directly mentor him.
Rodgers has stated he won’t treat his successor the same way when his time comes. That time is now. It will be interesting to see if Rodgers lives up to his past convictions or if he changes his tune now that his heir apparent is on the roster.
4. How Will Rodgers React to the Pick?
Rodgers has been known to be sensitive to criticism and he has a reputation of never forgetting an insult. Will he take this pick as an insult or will he rise to the challenge and use it as inspiration to play his best football in 2020?
Packers starting left tackle David Bakhtiari had an opinion right away. Shortly after the Packers made the pick he told a draft show on You Tube, “Let me tell y’all something right now: Look out! Aaron is about to be on fire.”
“Look, he’s already great when he is just chill,” Bakhtiari added. “But when I’ve seen him when he gets riled up …Wooo! Getting my hair raised up right now, thinking about this.”
5. How Does This Effect Rodgers’ Relationship with the Packers Organization?
After the draft, Gutekunst told reporters he hadn’t contracted Rodgers prior to making the decision to draft Love. Again, how will Rodgers take this decision and the way it was handled. Gutekunst indicated he thought it would not be a problem.
“I haven’t connected with Aaron yet, but he’s obviously been through this and he’s a pro,” Gutekunst said in a conference call with reporters Thursday night. “I think it’s certainly this is something that is a long-term decision. I think when you go through the way things went tonight, you run the short term and the long term. The way the board fell, this was the best decision for the Packers. I think obviously Aaron’s been around for a long time and he knows what we’re playing for right now and that’s what’s most important right now.”
It will be interesting to see how Rodgers reacts to the pick and to not being told in advance that it was coming. The one thing the Packers don’t want it to have their franchise quarterback pouting and upset during the season.
In conclusion, Rodgers had a premonition the Packers might draft a quarterback this year or in the near- future. In March, he told ESPN, “I’m a realist. I know where we are as an organization and I know where I am at my career. No matter who they bring in, they’re not going to beat me out anytime soon.”
Apparently, soon begins now.
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