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The draft is long over and there are no do-overs. Jordan Love, like it or not, is the Green Bay Packers‘ 2020 first round pick.
General manager Brian Gutekunst made a pick for the future and took the possible successor to Aaron Rodgers. The pick is being met with mixed reviews as some see the need to plan for the future with a quarterback while others are justifiably upset the Packers didn’t take a player who could help the team right now.
Others are taking an in-between approach and see how even though the team ignored immediate need, the pick can help this season by providing Rodgers with extra motivation.
I can see the reasoning behind the idea but I don’t buy it.
Rodgers shouldn’t need extra motivation. He is a player who has spoke to his legacy many times and knows what a second Super Bowl ring would do for it. Rodgers is a player driven by perceived slights and questions about his ability. Rodgers is also 36 years old and knows his chances are becoming fewer and fewer. He doesn’t need Love for extra motivation.
So far, Rodgers is saying and doing the right thing even if behind closed doors he is upset. One cannot blame him if he is. He has stated many times his desire to play into his 40s. The team was one game away from making the Super Bowl and seemed to be just a few players away from being the NFC representative. While other top NFC teams were improving, the Packers either stayed put or went backwards depending on who you speak to.
If anything, the Packers’ moves in the draft could give reason for demotivation.
If Rodgers wanted to, he could make a stink about what the team did and force an issue within the team. He could no-show training camp, demand a trade or refuse to report until the team cuts him.
Not that he would, but, given his limited time left, Rodgers could do whatever he could to ensure he gets moved to a different team.
To be clear, I don’t think Rodgers would ever do anything like that. He is the ultimate pro and will be there when the time comes.
But, if the team was looking to motivate Rodgers, why not do it by giving him all the weapons he needs. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it until the team does it: motivate Rodgers by giving him NO EXCUSE. What I mean is, for once in his time as Packers quarterback, go all-in and use free agency and the draft to give him weapons.
Rodgers has seen his skill players depleted year after year and replaced with late-round draft picks or undrafted free agents filling in roles once occupied by Pro Bowlers.
In 2008 when Rodgers first became a starter he had a veteran receiver in Donald Driver, Greg Jennings who in his third year was really coming into his own as a top tier receiver, James Jones who was going into his second year and despite early drops, would become a dependable player. Rodgers also had a 1,000-yard running back with Ryan Grant.
Also that year, Ted Thompson drafted Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley in the second and third rounds.
From 2010 to 2015, Thompson invested second-round picks in Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and Davante Adams, while also snagging Ty Montgomery in the third. Thompson also attempted to fix the tight end position by signing Jared Cook and Martellus Bennett.
But as players began to age and leave, the team has done very little to replace the talent walking out the door. Brian Gutekunst’s best attempt was adding a past-his-prime Jimmy Graham, a fourth-round bust at receiver, a fifth-round pick who took a major step back after a promising rookie year and a sixth-round pick who had his sophomore season over before it started because of injury.
A.J. Dillon might prove to be a worthy pickup, but the team already had two capable backs on the roster and they could have used a receiver from a deep draft class. Jace Sternberger or Josiah Deguara might also pan out but I doubt either will be reliable weapons for this season.
If Devin Funchess reverts back to 2017 form the team may have something. But that is a far cry from saying the team dove into the deep end of the pool.
I know motivating Rodgers wasn’t the whole intent of the draft pick, I do. But if it was even a secondary thought with the pick, it was the wrong reason.
The best motivation would have been giving Rodgers a few shiny new toys to play with and enough talent where he won’t have to do everything.
Even if Rodgers does elevate his play for this season, this has the potential to start a fire the team may not want. It happened in 2008 and this time it may not have the same end result.