Aaron Rodgers Wasn't 'Thrilled' with Jordan Love Pick: QB 'Not to Blame at All'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2020

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) warms up before the NFL NFC Championship football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed mixed feelings Friday about the team's drafting of Jordan Love in his first public comments since the selection.

The Packers took the Utah State quarterback No. 26 overall in last month's draft.

Rodgers spoke positively about Love on a conference call with reporters: "I'm excited to work with him. He seems like a good kid."

Rodgers admitted he wasn't a fan of the pick when he first heard of it. "General reaction at first was surprise, like many people," he said. "Not going to say I was thrilled by the pick." However, he holds no ill will toward Love, saying, "He's not to blame at all."

He noted that he understands why the organization is looking toward the future and preparing for it.

The Love selection shocked many with Rodgers under contract through 2023. The veteran signal-caller led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game last season where they fell to the San Francisco 49ers.

However, the 36-year-old is coming off a down year statistically by his standards. Rodgers threw for only 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he protected the ball well with just four interceptions.

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He helped the Packers post a 13-3 record, bouncing back from a disappointing 6-9-1 campaign in 2018. There were questions about whether he would mesh with first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, but they seemed to be on the same page throughout the year.

The running game provided support with the strong play of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, and the defense ranked ninth in the NFL in points allowed, so Rodgers didn't have to carry the team as much as usual.

Many Packers fans and NFL analysts were of the belief that Green Bay should have drafted a wide receiver or tight end in the first round since wideout Davante Adams is Rodgers' only reliable option at those positions.

Instead, the Packers decided to prepare for the future, just as they did in 2005 when they drafted Rodgers in the first round even though eventual Hall of Famer Brett Favre was on the roster.

That decision paid dividends for Green Bay. Favre remained the starter for three more years, but Rodgers immediately played high-level football when he took over.

"I learned a lot over those years working with Brett, things that I can bring the relationship with Jordan and just bring the mindset I went through as a young 21-, 22-, 23-year-old, playing with my idol as a teammate," Rodgers said. I'll definitely take those lessons with me. Like I said before, I've always had great relationships with my backups and always loved helping those guys out in any way. The more questions they have, the more answers I have. I've truly embraced those relationships, and it'll be the same with Jordan."

Drafting Love could help the Packers be contenders in the NFC for years to come, although he is far from a sure thing after throwing 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions at Utah State last season.

For now, Rodgers is the clear starter, and Love will be tasked with sitting behind him and learning. It worked for Rodgers early in his career, and it could be a positive for Love as well since Rodgers is an all-time great and future Hall of Famer in his own right.