There’s a school of thought that says until you’re absolutely certain you have your quarterback of the future, you should be drafting a quarterback every single season. We’re talking about a guy who will be under center for the next five to seven years. It’s hard to argue that the Green Bay Packers definitively have that player on the roster right now. Using that logic, shouldn’t they be looking to add a quarterback in the upcoming draft?
This isn’t to advocate that general manager Brian Gutekunst should use a first-, second-, or even third-round pick on a quarterback this season. Yet late-round quarterback selections still have value, and it would be wise for the Packers to buy another QB lottery ticket on Day 3.
You can count on one hand the teams that feel, with the utmost confidence, that they have their starting quarterback for the 2026 season on the roster right now. These players have a combination of youth, proven chops, and growth potential (plus salary cap commitments), making it difficult to imagine their teams parting ways with them.
1. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
2. Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
3. Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
4. Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott
There’s a second tier of guys that teams feel pretty good about, and there’s definitely plenty of scenarios where, five years from now, the current guy is still under center. Yet, whether due to injury, inconsistency, or both, there are plausible reasons why their respective teams might have to move on.
5. Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
6. Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
7. Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
8. Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Murray
There’s the old guard — Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady — that will assuredly be gone by 2026. There’s also the Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson tier, each of whom is on the wrong side of 30. It’s no safe bet they will be in the same spot five years from now.
You could say Jacksonville feels pretty good about their quarterback situation, with Trevor Lawrence waiting for them at the No. 1 pick. The New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers might find their guys at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, but history has shown that at least one of these top selections will likely be a bust.
Add in players like Carson Wentz, who’s already switched teams once; Deshaun Watson, who seems on his way out of Houston one way or another; or the Tua Tagovailoa/Derek Carr types, who are included in trade rumors seemingly every week, and there just aren’t that many teams that have that level of clarity in the quarterback room.
Like it or not, Rodgers most accurately slots into the Russell Wilson/Matt Ryan category. He could still be a very good quarterback five years from now, but are we certain he’s still with the same team?
Gutekunst helped fan the flames of this scenario by trading up to select Jordan Love in the 2020 draft. It’s uncertain how good he’ll be given that he didn’t get a preseason last year, nor did he play a single snap of game action as a rookie. Could he be the Packers’ third-straight Hall of Fame quarterback? Sure! Is that even remotely likely? Most definitely not!
Back to this year’s draft. That school of thought — drafting a quarterback every year — has been championed by several individuals. Ron Wolf, the legendary Green Bay GM, shared his thoughts on the philosophy in a 2016 interview with Sports Illustrated:
Wolf’s most notable stamp on modern scouting is his view on quarterbacks: While there’s only room for one starter, you can never acquire too many. In Wolf’s world, it is worthwhile to draft a QB every year, no matter the current roster situation.
With only four to eight-ish teams that feel somewhat confident about their long-term quarterback of the future, that leaves the overwhelming majority of the league still questioning the future of the game’s most important position.
It’s unfamiliar territory that the Packers haven’t been in since before Rodgers solidified himself as Green Bay’s starter in the 2008 season. History has shown that effective quarterbacks can come from anywhere, and looking at the most solidified quarterbacks, they’re mostly first-round picks. However, there are still the Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, or even Kirk Cousins-types who make up enough of a percentage of the starting quarterback jobs in the NFL that it’s still worthwhile to play the lottery with a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
The Packers have four selections across those two rounds as it stands right now. Many intriguing names could be available then, such as Stanford’s Davis Mills, Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman, or Feleipe Franks out of Arkansas. Maybe Gutekunst could wait even longer in the draft and see what a Sam Ehlinger from Texas or Ian Book from Notre Dame would look like in camp. Heck, Green Bay even will have a couple of preseason games this year to see what these young guys would look like!
Gutekunst needs to have a home run of a draft. He’s got 10 picks to add to the secondary, both lines, wide receiving corps, and likely mix in an edge rusher or two. But it stands to reason that one, just one, of those 10 picks should be spent on a quarterback who could be a wild card for the future. Perhaps it’s a Brett Hundley who gets a chance but doesn’t pan out. Maybe it’s a Matt Flynn who proves to be an adequate backup. But there is a non-zero-percent chance that it turns out to be a real player and, somehow, someway, the Packers’ quarterback of the future. You can’t find out if you don’t make the selection.