Green Bay Packers

Joe Milton III Would Be A Perfect Late-Round QB Pick For Green Bay

Photo Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine last month, Brian Gutekunst stated his desire to select another quarterback — perhaps multiple quarterbacks — in this spring’s draft. It’s unimaginable that the Green Bay Packers would take a quarterback in the first round, and highly unlikely they’ll select one on Day 2. Still, Tennessee’s Joe Milton III is one of the names that Green Bay should target in the later rounds.

Green Bay’s 2023 season was considered a success because of the playoff appearance (and dominant win over the Dallas Cowboys) and perhaps more because of Jordan Love‘s emergence in his first season as a true franchise quarterback. “Getting back to drafting multiple quarterbacks is something that I’ve wanted to do,” Gutekunst told reporters at the combine. “We kind of went away from that for a few years, and I’d like to get back to that because I just think having young talented quarterbacks on your roster that the coaches can develop, I just think is really healthy and important for a franchise.”

Milton isn’t the youngest signal caller on the board after an adventurous six-year college stint that saw him navigate from Ann Arbor to Knoxville, tearing his ACL along the way. Still, he’s possibly the most physically gifted passer in years. His arm strength is prodigious, lighting up the combine and the Senior Bowl with 70-yard deep balls. Milton has the exact frame you would look for at just over 6’5” and 235 lbs. He doesn’t qualify for an official Relative Athletic Score, but his measurements are off the charts.

The Green Bay Packers famously haven’t had many starting quarterbacks over the past few decades. Still, ridiculous arm strength is common across Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Jordan Love. There’s a substantial difference between being able to throw the ball 70 yards and layer it perfectly between the linebacker and the safety in coverage with an edge rusher breathing down your neck. But in Green Bay’s current situation, Gutekunst wouldn’t be bringing Milton into the fold to do either. As Gutekunst said, he wants to bring in young, talented players who can elevate the overall skill level of the position group.

The best-case scenario for Milton’s career may be what is playing out for Love. Sit for a couple of years to acclimate to the pro level, then rely on your abilities and newfound experience when given the opportunity. The Packers would hope that Milton wouldn’t need to see the field any time soon, with Love firmly their starter. Given the franchise’s track record of developing QBs, Green Bay should also be one of Milton’s desired destinations.

Milton’s strengths are mostly physical at this stage, with sites like Pro Football Focus citing his need to develop his abilities by working through progressions. NFL.com refers to his challenges with ball placement and accuracy, two traits people also dinged Love for in his pre-draft analysis. While Love is only about 16 months older than Milton, he provides a perfect model of what a quarterback rich in talent but lacking in finesse can develop into after a few years of NFL seasoning.

The Packers have 11 selections in the 2024 NFL Draft. Given some of the positional needs along the offensive line and at running back and linebacker, it’s hard to envision Gutekunst coming away with a quarterback in Rounds 1 through 4. But they have one fifth-round pick, two sixth-rounders, and two seventh-rounders. That’s where a player like Milton may become too talented to pass up. Given his age and injury history, combined with the number of quarterbacks available in this year’s draft, it’s tough to see Milton coming off the board before the fourth round. Closer to pick No. 150, though, Milton would stand out as one of the better players left, if not the best player available.

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