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Packers trade up to pick QB Jordan Love in first round of draft

General manager Brian Gutekunst traded up four slots to pick the big-armed prospect out of Utah State.
jordan love AP photo.jpg
Posted at 10:26 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 13:30:58-04

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst made a bold move in the first round of the NFL Draft, trading up four spots to take a quarterback with the No. 26 overall pick.

Jordan Love is the newest Packer, and the potential eventual replacement for Aaron Rodgers. The pick was made 15 years to the day after the Packers famously selected Rodgers with the No. 24 overall selection.

Rodgers, 36, is the same age Brett Favre was when Rodgers was selected in 2005.

As of Thursday night, Gutekunst said he hadn't yet had a chance to talk with Rodgers about the selection. Referring to Rodgers' draft experience, Gutekunst said "if anyone understands it, it's Aaron." He also called Rodgers "the best quarterback in the world" and stressed that Green Bay is still trying to win now, despite making this pick for the future.

Green Bay gave the Dolphins pick No. 30 and No. 136 in exchange for the 26th pick which was used to select Love. In an announcement on the team's website, the Packers call Love "a potential QB of the future".

"It seemed like the right thing to do," Gutekunst said. "I didn't think giving up a fourth round pick was a lot to give up to take a guy that we feel pretty strongly about and think he has a good future.

"It was just one of those things where he was the best player left and we're excited to get him," Gutekunst added. "I think he has a really good future in this league. He's coming from a place where he's done some really good things but he has a lot to learn too."

Love said he hadn't yet talked with Rodgers since being selected, but he's excited to learn from "one of the greats of the game."

"He knows what he's doing, knows a lot," Love said. "Has a lot of knowledge. I'll be able to just sit behind him, pick his brain and just grow as a player. Develop my game and just learn as much as I can from him."

Love is a developmental project compared to the other three quarterbacks taken earlier — LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Love was a hot prospect after his sophomore season at Utah State when he burst onto the scene, throwing 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Transitioning to a new offense - under ex-Badgers coach Gary Anderson - for his junior season, he struggled to adapt.

Love threw 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last fall, still earning honorable mention All-Mountain West honors.

"He's a nice sized kid. He's a really good athlete. He's a natural thrower. He's got a strong arm, can make all the throws. He's got an ability to create," Gutekunst said, heaping praise on his bold pick.

"Obviously he had a whole new coaching staff come in this year so that was a little bit new, and some new personnel around him," the Packers GM added. "Certainly he's got to clean some of that stuff up. But we feel he's got the skill set to play up here and he'll have a chance to be a pretty good player in the NFL."

"I'm a play-maker. I'm always ready to make plays. Whatever is needed. I got a really good arm," Love said when asked to describe his game. "A lot of confidence in that (arm), and a lot of confidence in my ability to make plays as a quarterback and I'm going to obviously come in here and work and continue to get better and improve my game."

Love is considered to have a very high ceiling, some comparing him to Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He also has a low floor, drawing some comparisons to former Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.