As is tradition, the Packer fanbase is deeply divided over yesterday’s first round pick of Utah State QB Jordan Love after trading up from 30th to the 26th pick by giving the Miami Dolphins a fourth round pick. Some disagree with the pick itself, even if a QB is arguably needed in the future. Others are concerned that more immediate needs by the team were not addressed in round 1, despite giving up that fourth round pick.
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: Aaron Rodgers’ job isn’t in any immediate danger. It’s foolish to think that at this point. Love will need to prove himself capable of playing in the NFL environment. Even the greatest of first round choices have crashed and burned in the NFL due to the large differences between it and college ball. That environment just isn’t for everyone.
However, it is fair to make comparisons between the current QB situation and that of 2005 when the Packers drafted Rodgers, who — as we all know — went on to replace QB Brett Favre. This shrewd move by the Packers following the 2007 season still leaves a bad taste in many fan’s mouths. While Favre seemingly made the decision on his own to retire in March 2008, the writing was on the wall that the front office was not embracing his return. Further complicating the situation, Favre was heavily pressured by the team to make a decision prior to the 2008 NFL Draft and free agency period. From that debacle, Jett Favre was born — but that’s another story.
Looking back, Favre obviously did have another productive year or two still in him. But, with the benefit of hindsight, that move by the Packers has paid off well as Rodgers proved he was the franchise QB the team needed and had staying power. Some would argue that he has brought even more to the team than Favre ever did, but I’ll avoid that comparison.
One thing is now certain: if you subscribe to the theory that Rodgers, even more so than most players, is playing cautiously to avoid injury: you better believe that is going to be the case now. The microscope is going to be on him closer than ever the next two seasons. It’s put up or shut up for the aging veteran. As someone that always seems to be a bit better when there’s a chip on his shoulder, perhaps this is the fire under his ass he needs.