The Green Bay Packers have long been known for their quarterback excellence, boasting legends like Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers who defined eras of Packers football. However, with having the future of the franchise in mind, GM Brian Gutekunst is reviving the team’s focus on drafting and developing young quarterbacks. This strategy, modeled after former GM Ron Wolf’s approach, aims to ensure sustained success by fortifying the Packers’ foundation at football’s most critical position.

The Packers’ draft strategy of selecting quarterbacks early and having them learn behind established veterans before thrusting them into action may not be a strategy that many teams adhere to, but for Green Bay, it’s worked for over three decades now.

Reviving a Proven Formula

Gutekunst’s renewed focus on drafting quarterbacks comes from a place of proven success. Ron Wolf, the architect of the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI championship, made quarterback development a cornerstone, after first trading for Brett Favre and laying the foundation for the team’s quarterback excellence.

Gutekunst wants to replicate this formula of letting a quarterback learn behind the starter for an extended period before throwing them into the lion’s den. Aaron Rodgers was drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft but didn’t take over and start until the 2008 season after the team traded away Brett Favre to the New York Jets.

Just as Wolf did after the Favre era, Gutekunst strategically planned for life after Rodgers, well in advance of a vacancy under center. Gutekunst drafted Jordan Love in the first round in 2020, who didn’t take over as the starting franchise quarterback until 2023 after Rodgers was dealt to the Jets. It’s an almost exact scenario of how the Packers handled the Favre-Rodgers transition.

Success Stories Boost Viability

The Packers’ proven track record of drafting and developing quarterbacks bolsters the viability of leaning into this strategy once again. Beyond Favre and Rodgers, who combined to deliver 31 seasons and a pair of Super Bowl wins, Green Bay has repeatedly unearthed quarterback gems in the draft.

Most recently, Love has shown encouraging development after sitting behind Rodgers. The Packers’ knack for drafting quarterbacks bodes well for the strategy’s success, suggesting more savvy scouting and development could unearth the next franchise quarterback.

Concerns and Challenges

However, questions remain about the modern-day viability of relying heavily on the draft for quarterbacks. The college game has changed, perhaps diminishing how well college performance projects to the NFL. Meanwhile, the transfer portal gives top quarterbacks options to play immediately at a new school rather than waiting years behind a veteran.

More teams now commit to young quarterbacks as immediate starters. With free agency and trades also spurring turnover, there are concerns that Green Bay’s approach could leave them stuck behind the curve at football’s most important position.

The Packers’ questionable early returns on Jordan Love highlight the risk of missing on draft investments. Still, the strategy remains viable if Green Bay can replicate its scouting acumen that unearthed Favre and Rodgers. Time will tell if the Packers’ legacy of quarterback excellence can continue.

The Verdict

The Packers’ renewed commitment to drafting quarterbacks is a viable strategy rooted in a proven formula. Green Bay has repeatedly hit home runs at quarterback in the draft, fueling decades of elite stability at the game’s most vital position. Look at it this way: With Love included, the Packers have had a total of three franchise quarterbacks starting under center since 1992. Compare that to the the Cleveland Browns, who since they came back into the NFL in 1999, have had 38 different starters.

If Love is indeed the long-term answer, this strategy will keep the Packers competing for championships while seamlessly transitioning from one franchise quarterback to the next – just as they’ve done for the last 30 years. For Packers fans, that looks like a very smart approach worth betting on.

The Packers Spread

The Packers have been one of the most successful franchises in the NFL over the past three decades, thanks in large part to elite quarterback play from Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Just when people were beginning to wonder if Love could replicate that success, he helped take the Packers to the postseason and dominate the Cowboys on the road in the Wild Card round. While it’s just one year of Love under center, it’s a promising start to his career.

The team’s popularity also helps them consistently rank near the top in NFL and merchandise sales, and the Packers NFL spread often reflects a dedicated fan base willing to bet on their team.

As the Rodgers era nears its end, GM Brian Gutekunst aims to sustain that success by reviving Green Bay’s focus on drafting and developing quarterbacks. If Love turns out to be yet another success story, the Packers’ prospects for continued excellence look strong.