The Green Bay Packers shocked everyone by trading up in the first round of this year’s draft to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t thrilled with that. Here are Love’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Packers’ over/under win total.
The Packers traded up to select Love with the 26th pick of April’s draft in a true stunner. Love was the first player from a Group of Five conference to be chosen in that draft. Green Bay moved up from its original pick at 30 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.
“It was just one of those situations where there were a couple of guys targeted that had just been previously been picked and Jordan was the next guy on the board, and so we went with the best player at the time,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of taking Love.
Hard not to root for this guy as when Love was 14 years old, his father, Orbin Love, committed suicide. He played at Liberty High School in Bakersfield, Calif., and committed to Utah State.
Love redshirted his first year at Utah State in 2016. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, he played in 12 games and started the final six. He finished the season completing 129 of 235 passes for 1,631 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
In 2018, Love started earning the attention of NFL scouts. He was second-team all-Mountain West Conference as he was 267-of-417 (.640) passing for 3,567 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 63 yards on 43 carries (1.5 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He finished first in the MW and 10th in the nation in passing efficiency (158.3), second in the MW and eighth in the nation in passing touchdowns with, second in the MW and 10th in the nation in points responsible for with 234 (18.0 pg), third in the MW and 31st in the nation in completion percentage (.640), fourth in the MW and 13th in the nation in passing (274.4 ypg), fifth in the MW and 20th in the nation in total offense (279.2 ypg), and fifth in the MW and 26th in the nation in completions (20.5 pg).
Last year, however, Love regressed. He was 293-of-473 (.619) passing for 3,402 yards with 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The picks were the most in the nation. Love did set USU single-season school records in both completions and attempts, while his passing yards were the second-most, his 3,577 yards of total offense were the third-most, his touchdown passes were tied for the fourth-most and his completion percentage was the sixth-highest.
Love holds three Utah State career records with 9,003 yards of total offense, 12 career 300-yard passing games and four completions of at least 80 yards. He finished his career 689-of-1,125 (.612) passing for 8,600 yards with 60 touchdowns and 29 interceptions, and ranks second all-time in school history in passing yards, completions and attempts, tied for second all-time in touchdown passes, and is third in completion percentage. He was 21-11 (.656) as USU’s starting quarterback, which are the second-most wins in school history.
“He was a pretty impressive athlete,” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “His ability to move in the pocket and get on the move and make some dynamic throws were things that were really exciting.”
Love (6’4/224) fits the prototypical build of a first round quarterback — large, heaves with velocity, can maneuver around the pocket. He has a great arm, which shows up in his big plays, but his struggles with accuracy, turnovers and decision-making and against pressure stick out as red flags. A polarizing prospect like Josh Allen or Daniel Jones, Love needs to rein in his wild side to be a franchise quarterback and thus should greatly benefit from holding Rodgers’ clipboard for multiple seasons.
The argument against picking Love is that Rodgers is still capable of winning a Super Bowl and likely will be for the next 2-3 more years. However, Love is expected to see the field at times as a rookie and will play a significant part of the offense in special packages. Is he likely to win Rookie of the Year? Not unless Rodgers gets hurt early on.