Packers Morning Buzz: Grades are in for Green Bay's draft and they're, um, not good
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with ESPN's Kevin Seifert understanding the Packers' reasoning behind drafting an heir apparent for Aaron Rodgers, but questioning whether Jordan Love is the right choice:
The Packers' decision to draft a quarterback in the first round is getting more scrutiny than the quarterback who made this plunge worth it to them in the first place. A strong argument could be made to select Aaron Rodgers' heir now, rather than waiting for Rodgers' retirement. But is Jordan Love the right quarterback for that? He led the NCAA with 17 interceptions during his final year at Utah State and, at the very least, is a high risk-reward prospect. The chances of a worst-case scenario -- starting the public clock on Rodgers' endgame with a first-round pick who isn't up to replacing him -- are higher than they should be.
While we're on the subject of the Packers, it's worth noting that they are operating with the kind of long-term vision that many of us criticize other teams for ignoring. But is that approach compatible with maximizing the final years of Rodgers' career? It could be, but only if the right answer is to surround Rodgers with a strong running game rather than an enhanced set of pass-catchers. Despite one of the deepest wide receiver classes in memory, the Packers failed to add a single one. After Love, they took a power runner in Boston College's AJ Dillon and a tight end in Cincinnati's Josiah Deguara. No objective observer could say that the Packers helped Rodgers in the passing game during this draft. We'll see if it matters.
You can read Seifert's entire draft recap here:
Pro Football Focus graded each team's draft. Green Bay didn't fare well:
Day 1: “What makes the move even more curious is that Rodgers isn’t at the very end of his contract in Green Bay. He signed a monster four-year extension in August 2018 and restructured as recently as December 2019. He is under contract until 2023, though there is a potential out in the deal before that.
Critically, that massive overlap also means that Love's value is capped as long as Rodgers is ahead of him on the depth chart. When Rodgers and Favre overlapped, it predated the Collective Bargaining Agreement that made the most powerful thing in football a good quarterback on his rookie contract. Even if Jordan Love becomes a great succession plan to Rodgers down the road, the Packers will have burned most if not all of the rookie contract that would have made him such a huge advantage.
The other issue is that Jordan Love is a massive gamble, even in a vacuum in the first round. PFF has already written that he simply isn’t worth the gamble of a first-round pick and that the volatility and downside to his game is too great to justify chasing his big-play ability.
For Love, it’s perhaps the perfect landing spot because he will get multiple seasons to work on his game with zero threat of having to start and lead a team while he does it. For Rodgers and a team that went to a conference championship game mere months ago, it’s a total waste of impact in 2020.” — PFF’s Seth Galina
Day 2: Boston College’s AJ Dillon does not rank inside the top-250 on PFF’s draft board. He ranked outside the top-110 on the consensus board. And he was selected at pick No. 62.
Deguara is one of the more intriguing route-runners in the class, but his lack of size could be an issue at the next level. If you find a high-motor, plus special-teamer like him on Day 3 you're more than happy… The Packers added him on Day 2. He ranked 191st on PFF’s big board.
Day 3: The Packers made the offensive line a priority on Day 3 with the selections of Jon Runyan, Jake Hanson and Simon Stepaniak. Between the three of them, there are zero single-season grades of 75.0 or higher for their college careers. All project more as depth pieces than anything else.
Draft Grade: D
All of the PFF team grades are here:
Nate Davis of USA TODAY Sports hands out an "F" in his draft grades, but it doesn't go to Green Bay:
Green Bay Packers: Given the unprecedented stability they've enjoyed for nearly 30 years at quarterback, maybe we shouldn't argue with their methodology – which included a Round 1 trade for Love, Aaron Rodgers' potential heir apparent. But to take Love and then come back with one-dimensional RB AJ Dillon at the end of Round 2, it just doesn't seem enough was done to help Rodgers – he surely would've liked just one of this year's bountiful crop of receivers – win now.
To find out which team did flunk, click here:
The Packers' draft grade came as close to failure as you can get from Doug Farrar of the Touchdown Wire:
This grade is based less on the quality of the players the Packers picked up than it is an indictment of the overall philosophy. Last season, Green Bay went 13-3 with a receiver group that had very little going for it beyond Davante Adams, and general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur didn’t take a single receiver in what was one of the deepest drafts at that position in NFL history. Moreover, Green Bay took Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick, despite the fact that Love is a serious developmental prospect. This is a team in the last years of the Aaron Rodgers era, and Rodgers still has a lot on the ball. Not only did the Packers not do anything to help him, they seemed to go out of their way to antagonize their best player. It’s difficult to understand the logic here.
You can rest about all the teams that drafted better here:
CBS Sports' John Breech didn't assign a grade, but safe to say he isn't a fan of the move:
There's a good chance that Aaron Rodgers is upset about this pick, and if he is, he should be. Of all the picks in the first round, not only was it the most baffling one, but I'm pretty sure it was the only one that I actually I hated. (And yes, please feel free to throw this article in my face if Jordan Love ends up winning multiple Super Bowls in Green Bay).
The funny thing is, I actually liked Jordan Love as a prospect, I just don't think it made any sense for the Packers to add him and there's about 95 reasons why I feel that way. For one, the Packers were a team that made it all the way to the NFC title game last season and they might have gone farther if Aaron Rodgers had more weapons on offense.
You can read the entire column here:
Pete Dougherty declares that this draft signals a profound change in the Packers' offensive philosophy:
Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal sees big changes coming as well:
Ryan Wood has the explanations from Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur:
Rob Reischel of ForbesSports goes the "good, bad and ugly" route, and there's no shortage of "bad and ugly":
Packers tight end Jace Sternberger takes issue with those who think Aaron Rodgers doesn't mentor young players:
Kyle Brandt of "Good Morning Football" voted thumbs down:
Here's the view from Chicago via Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrissey:
This is going to cause tension in Green Bay, and we here in Chicago, dealing with lower-level but loooooooong-running quarterback issues, will be watching with fascination.
In bad news for the Bears, the Love selection figures to turn Rodgers into a competitive madman for the 2020 season. He’ll want to prove, over and over, that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst is an imbecile.
You can find the entire column here:
And here's a Chicago man-on-the-street take:
A message of caution from someone who's been there before
Not everyone in the media is down on the Packers' decision:
The Packers almost swung a different first-round deal with the Seahawks:
Hmm, so the draft-day collaboration in Green Bay was pretty good/not so hot?
And finally ... you might say there was joy in the Josiah Deguaro household Friday night:
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt