OTAs have begun in Green Bay, and with that training camp and preseason football are on the horizon. There is perhaps no one who stands to benefit more from the offseason program and preseason games than quarterback Brett Hundley.
Hundley was taken by the Packers in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL draft. It was a somewhat surprising move. The Packers had no glaring need at QB with two time MVP Aaron Rodgers at the helm and capable back-up Scott Tolzien as QB2. And yet, in just his first preseason, Hundley more than vindicated the pick. He finished the 2015 preseason with 630 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, and just 1 interception. Perhaps most impressive was Hundley’s demeanor in the pocket. He looked calm and confident, displaying veteran like poise as a rookie.
The result of those preseason performances that Hundley has moved up the depth chart, securing the job as Rodgers’ back-up. Tolzien hit free agency and signed with the Colts. After seeing what they had in Hundley, the Packers did not seem overly interested in retaining Tolzien’s services.
Now Hundley may stand to see more preseason action than any other QB in the league, a vital opportunity to see get game action and continue honing his skills and familiarity with the NFL game. With 5 preseason games on the slate (four regular plus the Hall of Fame game) and arguably the league’s best QB on the roster, the Packers will plan on giving him plenty of snaps.
Hundley certainly turned some heads last year, but this year he can really dial it up and start making a name for himself across the league. Hundley showed that he has starter potential. If he can build on that, a lot of teams will begin showing interest.
This could, of course, work out in the Packers’ favor as well. Hundley is under contract with the Packers through the 2018 season. One could argue that the next several offseasons will be one long Packers’ showcase of Hundley to the rest of the league.
Unfortunately for the Packers, Hundley likely showed up a few years too early to become Aaron Rodgers’ replacement. When Hundley’s rookie contract is complete, Rodgers will be 34 and likely looking to play for several more seasons.
Still, if Hundley continues to mature as an NFL quarterback, the Packers will certainly be able to trade him for a high draft pick. The Packers would garner a nice return on their investment and have control of where Hundley lands (preferably somewhere in the AFC). And, of course, in a league that has increasingly thrown young QBs to the wolves so early in their careers, Hundley will have been able to sit and learn behind a great QB before attempting to take over his own team, wherever that might be. It’s certainly a formula that seemed to work out alright for Rodgers.——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.