When it was announced that the Green Bay Packers would select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, he became the most controversial player on the roster. The recent drama regarding Aaron Rodgers has forced the Jordan Love debate into the foreground, bringing up varying opinions about who Love is as an NFL talent and what it would mean if he was forced into a starting role. Here is a look at the Green Bay’s signal callers journey to the 2021 offseason:
Jordan Love faced adversity at a young age after his father took his own life when Love was 14-years old. At the high school level, the 5’6″ quarterback was told that he was too undersized to succeed under center. By his senior year, however, Love had grown to 6’3″. Love threw for 2,954 yards and 32 touchdowns, leading Liberty High School in Bakersfield, California to their first ever section title. The only FCS school to offer Love a scholarship was Utah State, with Love choosing to go there over several top tier Division II schools.
Once at Utah State, Love acclimated to the team and very quickly made it his own. He appeared in 12 games as a freshman and started the final six games of the season. That year, he threw eight touchdowns while surrendering six interceptions; setting a freshman passing record for Utah State. Love became the unquestioned starter in 2018 and led Utah State to one of their best seasons in program history.
Led by Head Coach Matt Wells and Love, Utah State went 10-2 in the 2018 season. Love dominated the competition, finishing the season with over 3,500 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His sophomore campaign had the media buzzing over his potential. After Wells left for a position at Texas Tech, Utah State struggled to remain competitive. Alfred Edwards was the only starting offensive lineman to return to the team in the 2019 season, while Love lost the majority of his receiving core.
The 2019 season saw Love endure two different head coaches, a scheme change, several personnel changes, and a defense that gave up 100 yards more per game than the previous season. Watching the gameday tape of Love, you saw a player who was trying to take too much of the load on offense.
Love totaled 20 touchdowns to go with 17 interceptions that season, slipping from a potential top pick to one of the toughest players to evaluate in the draft. To make matters worse, the coronavirus pandemic saw the NFL Combine and Pro Days cancelled, leaving the underwhelming 2019 season as the last spectacle teams saw from Love going into the 2020 Draft.
It was no secret that the Packers had their eye on Jordan Love coming into the draft. With an underwhelming 2019 campaign, some projected Love as a Day 2 selection. One thing most agreed on was that Love was not NFL-ready and that he needed to go to a team that could let him sit and learn behind a veteran.
Green Bay traded the 30th overall pick along with a fourth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 26th selection. Many thought the move would result in a top wide receiver. The Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and San Francisco 49ers had all taken wide receivers earlier in the first round, leaving minimal options on the board. After selecting Jordan Love, the fan base was in shock.
Love has been compared to Patrick Mahomes, Colin Kaepernick, Blake Bortles, and Jake Locker; four very different quarterbacks with very different careers to date. The recent issues with the Packers organization and Rodgers has forced fans to imagine a reality where Jordan Love is the starter.
With the ongoing pandemic, Love didn’t earn meaningful practice reps as a rookie. The Packers had favored Tim Boyle as their backup during the 2020 season over Love, leaving us to assume Love was beaten out by Boyle.
As we enter the new season, we don’t have an idea of what the Packers have in Jordan Love. Many still believe that he is a bust, while others have remained patient in the process. There are flaws that need to be ironed out in his game, but when he steps onto the field during the preseason in August, it will be one of the most anticipated debuts in recent franchise history.