“With the twenty-sixth pick in the 2020 NFL draft, The Green Bay Packers select Jordan Love, quarterback, Utah State.”
After that pick was announced it seemed like the Packers’ draft went downhill, and every fan and analyst started to beat up on the Packers. It is easy to say “The Packers should have drafted a receiver or addressed the linebacker position,” but in this article we are not going to debate what the Packers should have done. Instead, we are going to address what they have done and planning on doing.
Let’s first look into the mind of head coach Matt LaFleur. We all have egos and pride, especially people who work at the highest level in their field. What Matt LaFleur did as a head coach was unheard of, only five coaches in NFL history have won 13 or more games in their first year as a head coach (Jim Harbaugh, Steve Mariucci, Jim Caldwell, George Seifert, Matt LaFleur). Not only is LaFleur one of five coaches to win 13 games in his first year, he is also one of five head coaches to lead his team to an NFC championship in his first year.
Matt has to be feeling good after his first year as a head coach, even with a bad loss in the NFC championship. But why did the Packers lose to the 49ers in the NFC championship? Jimmy Garoppolo threw eight passes in a 37-20 win over the Packers and the 49ers rushed the ball forty-two times for 285 yards. With that in mind all offseason, the Packers wanted to get tougher and better at running the ball. LaFleur comes from teams that ran the ball well when he was an offensive coordinator (Titans and Rams). When he was the Rams’ o-coordinator, they had a top rushing attack and went to the Super Bowl. That is why the Packers drafted a bruiser at running back, A.J. Dillion (only two running backs had more broken tackles in college), plus versatile tight end Josiah Deguara in the third round. The Packers are going into 2020 ready to run the ball down teams’ throats.
At least, that is the plan.
I know you are thinking “so what,” Packers got better at running the ball. But the team is better equipped to run Matt LaFleur’s offense. If you look at Kyle Shanahan’s offense, they run the ball well and have different pieces that can exploit a defense. That is exactly what LaFleur is trying to do in Green Bay and beat the 49ers at their own game.
Now the question everyone has been waiting for: why draft Jordan Love? The answer is simple: if you are a team that is always picking in the twenties it is hard to get a franchise quarterback. For example, a lot of people have short term memory of how people reacted to the Chiefs’ pick of Patrick Mahomes. For example, here is a quote from Steven Ruiz of USA Today: “Calling Mahomes a project is a major understatement. He’s nowhere near ready to play in the NFL. And, honestly, he may never be. Between his inconsistent accuracy due to poor mechanics, his tendency to bail from clean pockets and his lack of field vision, he’s going to leave as many big plays on the field as he creates. This was a risky pick.”
Now, I am not saying that Jordan Love will be Patrick Mahomes, but the two winningest QBs of the last decade (Tom Brady and Russell Wilson) were not even first-round picks.
Let’s relax on the Packers’ draft and take the attention off 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers and his feelings. Matt LaFleur has a plan and was one game away from the Super Bowl last year. This is no longer Rodgers’ show.
Welcome to the Matt LaFleur era.