Sjoberg: 2020 Marks Franchise-Altering Draft for Green Bay

By Ryan Sjoberg (@Ryan_Sjoberg)

The Packers have had world class quarterback play since the early 90’s, a span stretching nearly 30 years. Brett Favre was the gunslinger everyone fell in love with. Can you blame them? Not only was Favre a first ballot HOF QB, he was fun to watch, had fun playing the game and revived a dying franchise that the NFL was trying to decide what to do with.

Insert Aaron Rodgers.

The 2005 NFL Draft changed everything. It was clear the franchise was looking to the future while the fans were enamored with the present, coming off a 10-6 campaign and a playoff berth. Sound familiar? 

Fast forward to the present. Many fans and media personalities’ jaws hit the floor when the Packers traded up for the 26th overall pick, selecting Jordan Love.The Packers are looking to the future, while fans–myself included–stay enamored with the present.

For myself, the timing is off for selecting a quarterback. This team was one game away from a berth in the Super Bowl. Although draft picks contributing immediately doesn’t happen often, it would have been nice to draft something new and shiny for Aaron Rodgers or bolster another position group within the roster to give the Packers meaningful snaps in games within the upcoming season.

Then you go down the board, running back AJ Dillon in the 2nd, TE/H-Back Josiah DeGuara in the 3rd and a trio of lineman to accompany a linebacker, edge rusher and safety late, and many were not thrilled with much from this draft. Was the value really there? The case could be made that if you could go down the line of every single player the Packers drafted, they would have been available on the board one Packer pick later. 

Take a Deep Breath

Alright, you may not like the picks, but they now sport the green and gold and it’s time to start embracing them. When it comes to the draft, everyone has a different board (duh) and if you have a guy really, really high up on your board compared to where you are selecting, you go get him. By all indications, this is what the Packers have done with Jordan Love. NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday night the Packers had trade up deals “late in the 1st round to trade up with the Seahawks” making it sound like they were definitely pounding the table to bring Love to the Packers. The move makes sense as this is probably the best possible landing spot for the Utah State product. Jordan Love is widely considered a multiple year project with an incredibly high ceiling. This opportunity allows him to be a sponge with Aaron Rodgers for a while and then in hopefully two to three years, take over for #12.

Even though this draft will be solely judged by how the quarterback taken in the 1st round develops, it’s worth mentioning how some of the other prospects can help the Packers.

Running back AJ Dillon produced a ton at Boston College. Think the size of Eddie Lacy with the speed of a Jamal Williams. Dillon is a wrecking ball that is surprisingly quick with his feet. I can see it now, Dillon breaking four or five arm tackles on his way into the Lambeau Field endzone with snow falling down on his helmet. Beautiful.

TE/H-Back Josiah DeGuara will be the do-it-all swiss army knife type player in Matt LaFleur’s offense. You want him in-line as a blocker? Sure. Want to put him in the backfield to pave the way for a running back? Yup. To catch a 10 yard hitch? Yes. Oh, you want him to chase down a defensive back 70 yards that just intercepted the ball and is heading for six? Yeah, he can do that too (see below). There is nothing DeGuara can’t do, especially at the H-Back position, which serves a key role in LaFleur’s offense. Think Kyle Juszczyk in San Francisco.

Some of the late guys like guard Jon Runyan II, middle linebacker Kamal Martin and center Jake Hanson have real potential of being starters down the road. I really like the value there.

The Packer’s 2020 NFL Draft will be picked apart, prodded and talked about for years to come. Jordan Love will result in Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur either having streets named after them in Green Bay in 15 years, or lead to their dismissal in five. 

And if you want a grade on this draft, ask in three years. Immediate draft grades are fun talking points, but highly inaccurate. None of these players have stepped foot on a professional football field. Nobody knows anything…Yet.

 

 

 

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