Eye to the Future: Packers tab QB Love in 1st Round

FOX Football Insider
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The 2020 NFL Draft was historic from the start, being held virtually instead of Las Vegas due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Football fans got a glimpse into the living rooms, dens, dining rooms, and basements of NFL head coaches and general managers as Commissioner Roger Goodell conducted round one of the annual collegiate draft with decision-makers in make-shift war rooms in the safety of their homes.

True to form, Jerry Jones took the top prize by being interviewed from his luxury yacht.

Four quarterbacks and six wide receivers were taken in round one as former SEC players dominated the action, with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow tabbed No. 1 overall as expected by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fifteen years to the day they drafted Aaron Rodgers, the Packers selected his successor in a surprising move that has been the talk of the NFL and Packer Nation today.

For the third consecutive year, general manager Brian Gutekunst made a move in the first round.  Gutekunst traded Green Bay’s 30th pick and a fourth rounder (No. 136) with the Miami Dolphins to move up four spots to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 26 pick Thursday night.

Gutekunst stayed true to his draft board and selected the 6-foot-4, 224-pound Love, who is renowned for his strong arm, mobility, and scrambling ability.  The Bakersfield, Calif., native had one year of collegiate eligibility remaining and grew up watching fellow Californian Rodgers’s career unfold.

Love had a tremendous 2018 season at Utah State, throwing for 32 touchdowns, 3567 yards, 32 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.  His 2019 performance slipped to 20 touchdowns, 3,402 yards, and 17 interceptions as he admittedly “forced the ball” into coverage at times he told the Wisconsin media in a conference call just after midnight.

Love said he looks forward to joining the Packers and learning from Rodgers.

Mike Ditka was not a fan of the Packers’ draft choice.

“Well, if I had Aaron Rodgers as my quarterback, I wouldn’t be picking a quarterback in the first round,” Ditka said.  “Maybe a later round.  But I’m sure the Packers have their reasons.  The future is important, but the NFL is a’win now’ league. 

“Hey, we all know nothing lasts forever.  Aaron knows that too.  But he can still play at a high level.  The Packers were one game away from the Super Bowl last year, there’s time to get help for Aaron and the Packers offense in the draft.  It’s not Aaron’s job to mentor a new quarterback.  But he’s a classy guy and will handle it.”

Ditka said the best two quarterbacks he’s seen in his lifetime are Tom Brady and Rodgers.  “Both have great talent and intelligence,” Ditka said.  “They’re leaders that have the ability to make the whole team better.  Every time they step on the field their teammates know they can win.”

When Love saw the “920” area code come up on his cell phone, he knew he was headed to Green Bay.  He said he will work hard to improve his game and learn as much as possible from his coaches and teammates.

Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft are held tonight, where Green Bay may focus on selecting from a deep receiving class and also eye an inside linebacker or offensive tackle.

2020 Packers Draft Picks

1. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State, 26th overall.  Traded up with Miami for 30th and 136th (4th rounder) overall picks.
2. Second round, 62nd overall
3. Third round, 94th overall

5. Fifth round, 175th overall
6. Sixth round, 192nd overall (from Raiders)
7. Sixth round, 208th overall (from Titans)
8. Sixth round, 209th overall
9. Seventh round, 236th overall (from Browns)
10. Seventh round, 242nd overall (from Ravens)

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