Most Green Bay Packers fans don’t want to accept the possibility that Aaron Rodgers‘ last snaps in a green and gold uniform came in the NFC Championship game last season. That harsh dose of reality is even more potent since the news of his dissatisfaction broke just before last week’s NFL Draft.
There’s a small pocket of fans who have already soured on Rodgers in the last few days and prefer for Green Bay to move on. That would leave the franchise in the hands of Jordan Love, the first-round pick out of Utah State who they traded up for in last year’s draft. Despite Rodgers’ vocal displeasure with the lack of weapons at his disposal throughout his career, Love would be coming into a better situation than most rookies do. Setting the Rodgers fiasco aside, Green Bay’s recent success would put Love in a position where he wouldn’t have to be superhuman from the jump.
Trevor Lawrence was the first-overall pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars in this year’s draft. No matter what way you slice it up, Jacksonville’s future successes or failures will largely hinge on just how good he turns out to be. They are slowly trying to build a solid foundation around the rookie quarterback. Still, a rebuild takes time, and the seamlessness of Lawrence’s growth and transition from college to the NFL will only accelerate the process.
A similar case can be made for Zach Wilson, who was taken second overall by the New York Jets.
Heck, you can look back to Love’s own draft class for other examples. The Cincinnati Bengals have been a mess for years. Joe Burrow was drafted No. 1 overall to, in essence, save the franchise, not to be another piece on a roster brimming with talent. Meanwhile, Green Bay has strung together back-to-back 13-3 seasons under Matt LaFleur.
This isn’t to suggest that mediocre quarterback play will be good enough for the Packers to skate by on whenever Love takes over. It’s the most important position in all of sports; in most cases, competence and stability are a minimum requirement. But suggesting Love would be entering a scenario like most other young quarterbacks do is comical.
He would be playing behind an offensive line that features the best tackle in football, David Bakhtiari, while Elgton Jenkins has emerged as one of the most versatile and consistent offensive linemen in the league. And the Packers added more in the draft with a second-round pick of center Josh Myers and fourth-round selection of tackle/guard Royce Newman.
Have you seen Joe Burrow‘s knee? No seriously, have you seen his damn knee?
This man was running for his life in Cincinnati last year behind an offensive line that would struggle to pave the way against some JV squads. Thank goodness Penei Sewell was there for them to take at No. 5 this year. Wait, they took a receiver? LOOK AT THAT KNEE.
Love would be tossed in behind one of the more consistent units in recent years, plus he has the mobility to stretch things out to the perimeter in a Packers offense that likes to do so.
Wilson’s No. 1 wideout in New York is Corey Davis. Look, we all love Corey Davis. The man was a solid receiver for the Tennessee Titans before signing this offseason with the Jets. But let’s call it like it is: He is not a WR1. But he will be playing alongside Jamison Crowder in the Big Apple!
Davante Adams is arguably the best wideout in football. Aaron Jones is one of the top-tier two-way backs in the league. Robert Tonyan broke out last year, and the Packers addressed the wideout spot in the draft by using a third-round pick on slot receiver Amari Rodgers.
Zach Wilson. Joe Burrow. Trevor Lawrence. Tua Tagovailoa. All those recent first-round quarterbacks would do unimaginable things to throw the ball to a wideout like Adams. They’d give anything to turn around and hand it off to a running back like Aaron Jones or flip it to him out of the backfield. For all the complaints about Green Bay not setting Rodgers up with enough pieces, take a look around the league. There aren’t many greener pastures out there.
If your argument is that those players flourish and max out because Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback, that’s a different discussion for a different day. But make no mistake about it, the Packers have a lot of pieces already in place if a transition to Love is necessary this offseason.
Add in a defense that features players like Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, Kenny Clark, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage. It’s not too shabby of a unit and not out of the realm of possibility to suggest they should be a top-five defense next year.
The pipe dream for Green Bay is that, at some point, Love develops into the next Packers QB legend. Not exactly the lightest of expectations, but let’s set the bar high. Unlike many other young quarterbacks, the deck won’t be stacked against him from the start. The Rodgers situation will continue to evolve, and if he’s traded, there will be an unimaginable amount of pressure on the shoulders of No. 10.
Thankfully for Love, he has one of the better rosters in the NFL around him if his time comes sooner than expected.