Back in the 2005 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers had no immediate plans of drafting a replacement for QB Brett Favre. The Packers had just gone 10-6 to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Favre just threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Things appeared to be fine between the veteran QB and the organization.
As that draft unfolded, we saw QB Aaron Rodgers fall back and back and into the lap of the Packers at No. 24 overall. Rodgers had to sit behind Favre for three seasons but eventually took over and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, 15 years later in the 2020 NFL Draft, the same sort of situation could be brewing at Lambeau. The Packers decided to pounce on a QB free-falling, trading up to No. 26 overall from No. 30 and snagging Utah State QB Jordan Love — who could be the heir apparent to Rodgers’ throne in Green Bay.
First, I’ll get this out of the way and say I’m a Packers fan, so read this accordingly. I don’t know much about Love and his skill set, what type of QB he’ll end up being, but what I do know is how familiar this situation appears. Favre didn’t want to see another QB take over his job and Rodgers won’t want to see the same thing when his time comes. You also don’t use a first-round pick on a QB (let alone trade up) unless you think he’s got franchise play-calling potential. Love will be set up to take over for Rodgers, the question is when?
Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old. He just threw for 4,000 yards and had a 95.4 QBR in 16 starts in 2019. The Packers went 13-3 and advanced to the NFC Championship game in coach Matt LaFleur’s first season. Rodgers’ body has been through a lot, but he’s still an elite QB and until that isn’t the case, he’ll be the starter. A-Rod is also under contract through the 2022 season. That seems like a good benchmark for when we might see Love compete for the starting job. So that’s at the earliest in three seasons, when Rodgers is pushing 40 and Love has had time to learn the offense and get settled into the NFL. That’s the perfect storm.
The “not-so-perfect” storm is something similar to what happened with Favre, just expedited. Now, I don’t think this is possible. Love would have to really blow away the Packers coaching staff and Rodgers would have to fall off a cliff. The key for the Packers is staying patient and not overreacting to what happens in the 2020 season. If things go bad and Rodgers struggles, that doesn’t mean it’s time to call up Captain Stubing and jump on The Love Boat. I think (hope) Rodgers is aware that this day was going to come eventually. He did ask the Packers to draft more skill position players — though I think he meant a wide receiver or two.
The Packers are in a good place right now. They’ve got more picks to play around with on Friday and Saturday and addressed the elephant in the room right away. I highly doubt Rodgers, a Super Bowl MVP and 8-time pro-bowler is going to let the Packers drafting a QB in the first round distract him from his mission of winning another Super Bowl.
We saw how the Packers handled Favre-Rodgers almost two decades ago and things seemed to work out fine with Rodgers. This is a completely different front office and coaching staff, but my early feelings are this pick isn’t all that important right now. The goal is to get back to the Super Bowl. Not worry about a QB controversy that likely won’t even be a controversy for another three seasons.