The Green Bay Packers will add to the quarterback room at some point this offseason. After they trade Aaron Rodgers, the only players at the position on the roster will be Jordan Love and Danny Etling. Therefore, there is a clear need to add one or more options. While a veteran would make sense – last week, I argued that they could sign Matt Ryan – early indications are the Packers are more inclined to draft a quarterback.
“I think you can go a couple different ways with it, to be honest,” LaFleur told reporters during the owners meeting in Phoenix. “If you fall in love with somebody in the draft, you can draft a young guy. There’s a lot of different ways to do it. I’ve been a part of a lot of different quarterback rooms. So, I just think you’ve got to try to figure out and get the best guy available.”
The Packers interviewed BYU quarterback Jaren Hall during the combine, a 6’0”, 207 lb. player.
This week, it has been reported that they will receive Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker (6’3”, 217 lbs.) for a top-30 visit. They are different types of players and are expected to get drafted in different ranges. So what are the Packers looking for?
On the “Move The Sticks” podcast, NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks said the teams he worked for as a scout, including the Packers, use the pre-draft visits to gain a better perspective on the players. They analyze character or medicals, for example. The purpose is not to generate smoke. Green Bay may be interested in Hooker, who is expected to get drafted between the second and third round. However, recent buzz indicates he can go in the later stages of the first round. That would be an uncharacteristic move by Brian Gutekunst because Hooker is 25 years old — 10 months older than Jordan Love.
Jaren Hall is not as highly touted and could go as late as Day 3 of the draft. He is also an older prospect, eight months older than Love.
There are only a few reference points to compare Hooker and Hall, but age is a factor. It might make sense if the Packers are looking for a backup, not a quarterback to compete with Love for the starting job.
“While a team should never give up its search for a Patrick Mahomes, there is a great deal of value in finding a quality point guard who can simply distribute the football to the talent. This is especially true if we remain in a Vic Fangio world, where defenses are more focused on containment.
So, a few players in this year’s draft … could see more teams clamoring for their services earlier than they might have a few years back. As it was explained to me, perhaps fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round picks will become third-, fourth- or fifth-round picks.”
At least for now, the Packers are happy with Jordan Love’s ceiling. They don’t need to look for a Patrick Mahomes-type unless something unexpected happens and Anthony Richardson or Will Levis falls to the 15th pick. In a search for a backup, it may be smart to look for a rookie with more experience, so he could step in right away if needed — and with four years of cheap labor.
If the Packers use this strategy and Love plays poorly in 2023, taking an experienced backup in the later rounds of the draft won’t affect the search for another first-rounder in 2024. The backup might even turn out to be a bridge quarterback.
Former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf was proud of his QB-factory philosophy. His model is still the base of what the Packers do nowadays under Gutekunst. But there are different types of quarterbacks and different needs at particular points in roster-building, and getting an older rookie to backup Jordan Love is probably the path for Green Bay this season.