Packers draft Jordan Love to be Aaron Rodgers’ heir 15 years after they drafted Rodgers to replace Brett Favre


Fifteen years later, Aaron Rodgers understands exactly how Brett Favre felt.

On Thursday night, 15 years after the Packers took Rodgers at No. 24 as Favre’s eventual replacement in the 2005 draft, the Green Bay Packers traded up from No. 30 to No. 26 in the 2020 NFL Draft for Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, making him the presumptive heir to Rodgers’ throne.

The similarities between the Love pick on Thursday night and the Rodgers pick 15 years ago are striking. 

Entering the 2005 draft, the Packers were coming off a 10-6 season. In his age-35 season, Favre threw for 4,088 yards, 30 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a 92.4 passer rating. The Packers’ season ended with a double-digit loss in the playoffs. Entering this year’s draft, the Packers were coming off a 13-win season that — by expected win total — was far closer to a 10-win season (9.7 to be exact). In his age-35 season (he turned 36 in December), Rodgers threw for 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 95.4 passer rating. The Packers’ season ended with a double-digit loss in the playoffs. 

In both instances, there was a reasonable argument to be made that the Packers were still very much in their Super Bowl window with their aging Hall-of-Fame quarterback and that their best move would’ve been to give their aging Hall-of-Fame quarterback some immediate help with their first-round pick. In both instances, the Packers opted, instead, to plan for the future. 

In Rodgers, the Packers got one of the best quarterbacks of the past two decades, which allowed them to transition from one Hall-of-Fame quarterback to the next. Most importantly, it allowed them to win (at least) one more Super Bowl. 

It’s not yet known what the Packers got in Love. He’s an enigma. He enters the NFL with serious and legitimate concerns. After all, the Patriots (who traded down) and the Saints (who took an interior offensive lineman) both needed a long-term quarterback and they both passed on Love. He has all of the physical tools to succeed at the next level, evidenced by his 2018 season at Utah State, when he completed 64 percent of his passes, averaged 8.6 yards per attempt, and threw 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. But he also has some glaring flaws. He struggled mightily in his final college season, completing 61.9 percent of his passes, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt, and throwing 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He’s been compared to both Blake Bortles and Patrick Mahomes

When Rodgers was coming out of Cal, he was in the top-overall pick conversation before suffering a staggering fall all the way to Packers at No. 24. Love was never in the top-overall pick debate. The question was if he was a first- or second-round pick. Make no mistake about it, Rodgers was a far better prospect in 2005 than Love is today. In that sense, these two picks aren’t at all similar.

I don’t know if Jordan Love will be a good NFL quarterback. The Green Bay Packers do not know if Jordan Love will be a good NFL quarterback. Nobody knows. What the Packers know — and all of us should know too — is that they need to begin planning for life after Rodgers. 

In 2019, even though the Packers emerged with 13 wins and earned a trip to the NFC title game, Rodgers struggled by his standards. He finished the year ranked 13th in DVOA, which measures value per play, and 20th by total QBR. That doesn’t mean Rodgers sucks. It just means he’s no longer the quarterback god he once was. He’s declining — an expected trajectory given his age. Not everybody can age like Tom Brady. While Rodgers is still under contract through the 2023 season, he will be cuttable before that point. The Packers could save close to $23 million by cutting Rodgers in 2022. They can cut him in 2023 and save more than $25 million. 

Love’s timeline meshes with Rodgers. Love will need time to develop, which he can in Green Bay behind Rodgers. Whether or not the Love pick on Thursday night looks as genius as the Rodgers pick 15 years ago, well, that part remains to be seen.





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