The Green Bay Packers turned a lot of heads on Thursday night when they selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 26 pick, after trading Nos. 30 and 136 to go up and get him.
With Aaron Rodgers still at quarterback in Green Bay, the question on many people's minds was why the Packers didn't select a player who would help Rodgers immediately, like a wide receiver. And NBC Sports' Peter King said in an interview with WEEI's Dale and Keefe show that he believes Rodgers is likely "pissed":
"I'll tell you what he thinks, he's pissed off. Wouldn't you be? You realize that when the Green Bay Packers have been sitting there for the last four drafts and Aaron Rodgers said, 'Give me a weapon, give me a weapon. Get me some receivers' and the Packers have never—unless you consider Ty Montgomery, who was switched to running back after being a college receiver at Stanford—they have not picked a wide receiver in the top 100 picks in the last four drafts when they have had a significant need in the last two years. Now, they have pick 62 tonight and they will pick a receiver, I would guess."
King wasn't the only person bewildered by the pick on behalf of Rodgers:
Adam Lefkoe @AdamLefkoe
The Saints & Packers have HOF QBs. This is their final Super Bowl window. Drew Brees is 41. He already signed a deal with NBC to work NEXT SEASON. The Saints drafted him another offensive lineman. Aaron Rodgers is 36. The Packers drafted a QB. They had needs at WR,TE and OL.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst broke down the basis for the pick, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN:
"We've got the best quarterback in the National Football League, and we plan to have him for a while competing for championships. I can understand the fan base and people thinking, 'Why would you do this at this time?' But I just think the value of our board and the way it sat, it was the best for the Green Bay Packers, and we're really excited to get Jordan here and get him in the door and learning our system.
"I know a lot of people will look at this as not a move for the immediate, and I understand that, but the balance of the immediate and the long term is something that I have to consider, and that's why we did it."
One reason Rodgers may be justifiably annoyed by the move is that the Packers have never used a first-round pick on a skill-position player during the entirety of his career:
Matt Schneidman @mattschneidman
Aaron Rodgers on @PatMcAfeeShow: "We haven't picked a skill player in the first round in 15 years, so that would be kind of cool." Rodgers says whoever the pick is, he'll track down his phone number and welcome him to the team tonight -- if the Packers don't trade out.
But there are other reasons. For one, as King noted, the 36-year-old Rodgers has said on record he hopes to play until he's 40, barring any health issues. So he isn't planning on retiring anytime soon.
And it's not as though the Packers are already in a rebuilding mode. This is a team that went 13-3 last year and reached the NFC Championship Game. They have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Getting a player who could have contributed immediately, at least with the first-round selection, would have made sense.
Plus, not only did the Packers draft a quarterback, they traded up and gave away another asset to do so. That part, more than anything else, is what Packers fans—and perhaps Rodgers as well—must be most annoyed about.
Under Rodgers, the Packers have a short window. Many Packers fans likely would have preferred them to maximize that window by prioritizing other positions of need. Instead, the Packers chose to draft who they hope will eventually be Rodgers' successor.