One of the blessings of being a Packers fan is stability at the quarterback position. As we enter the month of the draft, talk centers on whether the Arizona Cardinals will draft Oklahoma star Kyler Murray with the first overall pick (which would be their second first-round passer in as many years) and what teams might try to trade up to take Murray or one of the other top signal-callers. Recent drafts are full of teams giving up valuable assets to trade up for ‘their guy’ (often overpaying). For every Patrick Mahomes, there are plenty of Paxton Lynch, Blaine Gabbert, and EJ Manuel types out there. It’s a high-risk, dangerous game.
Thankfully, when Ted Thompson unexpectedly drafted Aaron Rodgers to succeed Brett Favre, he circumvented this circus and put the Packers in an enviable position at the most important position in the game. But Rodgers is getting older and injuries add up. The last two seasons saw our hero on IR or hobbled all season. Eventually, Brian Gutekunst will have to make the franchise-altering decision of who will succeed #12.
The Green Bay Packers hold two first-round picks at 12 and 30. They have the capital to move up, should they desire, but its also not impossible to think one of the top passers might fall to them at pick 12. Should the Green Bay Packers consider taking a quarterback in the 2019 NFL draft?
Probably not; at least, not in Round 1.
The difference between the Packers right now and the Packers when Rodgers was drafted was Favre was already mulling retirement. Rodgers has made it clear he wants to play into his 40s. He also just signed a contract for roughly a billion dollars.
Gutekunst also made a splash in free agency, suggesting he’s looking to maximize Rodger’s championship window. Picks 12 and 30 can be spent on players that help the team win now: not on a player you hope won’t see the field. A dominant defender like Ed Oliver or Brian Burns or a dynamic offensive weapon like T. J. Hockenson or D. K. Metcalf can help the Packers win a Super Bowl now.
Even should the Packers consider taking a quarterback early, two factors further complicate matters: would the player be on his rookie contract by the time Rodgers retires and is that player going to be better than DeShone Kizer?
Unless Rodgers keeps getting injured or the football gods steal his powers, Rodgers is going to play for at least four more years. By the time the new passer would be called upon, he likely will be at the end of his rookie deal and require a long-term contract or an expensive fifth-year option. The timing just isn’t ideal right now. Taking a quarterback in 2021 or so would make a much more attractive timeline.
Finally, I’m not convinced Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, or Daniel Jones will be significantly better than DeShone Kizer as a backup. Kizer didn’t look good in his limited action last season, but he has starting NFL experience and athletic upside. He’s going into his third offense in three years, and one of those was under Hue “Literally The Worst Head Coach of All Time” Jackson. Call it the native Toledoan in me, but I think he deserves a shot in Matt LaFleur’s offense, which should be more quarterback friendly.
It would not be a bad idea, however, to look into a nice developmental quarterback in the later rounds. North Dakota State’s Easton Stick would be a fascinating pick in the later rounds. Packers fans were loath to see Taysom Hill snatched by the Saints, and Stick could be a similar player used in creative ways by LaFleur. Jordan Ta’amu from Ole Miss would be another intriguing option. A Day 3 option could add some important competition to training camp and help elevate Kizer and Tim Boyle without sacrificing capital that could be better spent on impact players elsewhere.
2019 is not the time to roll the dice on an early, unknown quarterback. Even after an off year (by his usual standards) Rodgers is still a legendary quarterback and the Packers will always be a contender with him under center. If he’s hurt, the season is likely over no matter who the next man up is.
Use the 2019 draft to get the Lombardi Trophy back home.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.