A busy offseason kept fans entertained leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. A handful of franchises engaged in the free agency market – leaving with additions to their roster. Las Vegas and New Orleans became the newest homes for Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. Aaron Rodgers’ name circulated the trade rumor headlines, but the Packers remained poised despite extensive media coverage.
A divorce between Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers caught the attention of several bidders. News of Rodgers’ optimism towards sporting a different jersey resulted in multiple phone calls from franchises. The Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, and New York Jets were front runners in a fight to land an experienced veteran. On Jan 23, the Jets announced their decision to hire Nathaniel Hackett as their next offensive coordinator. Rodgers spoke highly of New York’s new play caller – leading analysts to believe the Jets were the likely destination.
Packers traded Aaron Rodgers to the Jets for multiple draft picks
After months of conversations and trade scenarios, the Packers and Jets have agreed to terms. The Jets will receive Aaron Rodgers, a first-round pick (No.15) and a fifth-round pick (No.170) in exchange for multiple picks (No.13,42,207) and a conditional second-round selection in the 2024 draft.
While Jets fans celebrate the signing of their new quarterback, Green Bay’s staff shifted their focus to their third-year gunslinger. Without Rodgers under center, the Packers expect to rely on Jordan Love to take over as the leader on offense.
In 2020, the Packers drafted the former Utah State Aggie after an impressive Junior and Senior year stretch. Love accumulated 6,969 passing yards in two seasons – ranking first in passing yards per attempt in 2018.
Impressive collegiate careers don’t always equate to success at the professional level. Love has limited experience – attempting less than 100 passes in two seasons (83). It is impossible to expect him to take the field and immediately reenact Aaron Rodgers’ success. Without their veteran quarterback, the Packers are forced to enter a minor rebuild, so how long will it take for Green Bay to become a contender again?
The Packers must use draft picks to help Jordan Love adjust to his new role
If the Packers plan to insert Jordan Love into the starting lineup, they must consider drafting a skill player with their first-round pick (No.13). Allan Lazard is no longer with the team (Jets) – adding weight to the shoulders of Christian Watson and Aaron Jones. Lazard led the Packers in receiving yards (788) and targets (100).
Searching for a wide receiver in this year’s draft class will be an easy job for Green Bay’s front office. Most teams positioned in front of them are interested in filling other positions. A low demand for wideouts will benefit Love’s squad. Zay Flowers and Quentin Johnston are two prospects Green Bay should consider.
Flowers’ size will not replace Lazard, but his open-field elusiveness makes up for the disadvantage. Quentin Johnston is a jump ball receiver that can cover up inaccurate passes and turn them into spectacular plays.
It’s been 20 years since Green Bay drafted a wide receiver in the first round (Javon Walker, Florida State), but the roster needs an immediate upgrade. Without Rodgers under center, the Packers must surround their developing quarterback with weapons that will build his confidence.