In 2008, the Packers selected Brian Brohm, the quarterback from Louisville University with their 2nd round pick (56th overall). Coming off a senior season in which he threw for 4,024 yards and 30 touchdowns, Brohm was considered by many to be the draft’s best quarterback. Still, it was a somewhat head-scratching amount of draft capital to spend on a position the Packers seemingly had sewn up, having already invested a 2005 1st round pick, and years of tutelage, in Aaron Rodgers.
Whatever the Packers had planned, the media liked the pick. Analyst Merril Hoge said at the time, “Well actually, I do like Brohm better than Aaron Rodgers.”
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay agreed, saying, “I like him. I honestly think Brian Brohm, two years from now, could be the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. It would not shock me at all. I still think Aaron Rodgers has a chance as well. But I think Brian Brohm’s upside is greater than that of Aaron Rodgers.”
The future played out rather quickly. After signing his contract in July 2008, Brohm was released by the Packers in September 2009. In 2010, Rodgers was the Super Bowl MVP, winning the Packers their 13th league championship. The divergent paths of Brohm and Rodgers illustrate the old adage that plans can, and often do, change.
Another takeaway from the Brohm situation was how it served as further evidence of the value that the Packers place on the quarterback position. In 1992, GM Ron Wolf shipped the 19th overall pick for a former 2nd rounder and backup. In 2005 and 2008 GM Ted Thompson spent a 1st on Rodgers and a 2nd on Brohm, respectively. And this offseason the Packers spent another 1st on Jordan Love.
Similar to previous moves, many fans and media groaned at the Love selection. I went on the record liking it (and still do). Watching Love’s college film you definitely see glimmers of that rare talent so few possess. LaFleur apparently saw that talent as well and so the Packers made their move. A plan was seemingly put in place: win now with Rodgers, develop Love for the future.
But for now, that’s all it is: a plan. And somewhat strangely, many in Packerland have skipped ahead to the chapter where Rodgers has been traded away and the keys to the franchise have been handed to Love. Somehow, it’s already a foregone conclusion. To these people, I offer a quote from the great Big Daddy Kane, “So if you know like I know, instead of messing around, play like Roy Rogers and slowww down.”
Yes, Love may be the future, but he’s certainly not there yet. Love’s first training camp was plagued by accuracy issues which also showed up on his college tape. The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman went as far to say, “Love has yet to even provide a glimpse at why the Packers traded up to draft him in the first round.”
Admittedly, it’s absurdly early. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Love was robbed of a proper offseason and judging him on his first few practices, in a new offense, would be foolish. But clearly there’s work to do and development that needs to happen. Will it? We don’t know.
In the meantime, Rodgers is off to an MVP start and had the Packers undefeated and setting records through four games, before finally dropping a dud this past weekend in Tampa Bay.
Somewhat ironically, the 36 year old Rodgers was defeated in Tampa by a 43 year old quarterback who many thought was near the end of his road, but instead is now leading a new 4-2 team with Super Bowl aspirations. Will Rodgers, like Brady, be able to play until 43? It’s the same as Love’s development – we don’t know.
But here’s what we do know: Love is still very much a work in progress and Rodgers is looking like his old GOAT self. If those situations don’t change, Rodgers may force the Packers to throw their plan out the window.