This is the Morning Win. Nate Scott is filling in for Andy Nesbitt this week.
When I heard the Green Bay Packers moved up in this month's NFL Draft to take a quarterback, I'll admit in the moment I didn't think it was *too* out there a decision.
Sure, they still had Aaron Rodgers. But if they liked Jordan Love, the QB out of Utah State they took with the 26th overall pick, it made sense to bring him in now, spend a year or two learning under Rodgers. It had worked out for the Packers before, when Rodgers was an understudy to Brett Favre, right?
Then I looked into it more and … it all stopped making sense.
Every part I read about this, every stat I look at, every smart person I listen to talk about it, all of it points to this being an incredibly stupid decision.
Let's just go through it methodically. One: Aaron Rodgers doesn't have a year or two left on his contract. He has four years left on his contract, and he's still performing at an incredibly high rate, having taken a not-great Packers team to a 13-3 record and an NFC Championship last season.
Two: That 13-3 record may make you think the Packers are close, and have the luxury to take on a backup QB project for a few years because they don't have glaring needs to address. That's … not how the NFL works. The Packers were 6-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer last season. I.e. they weren't killing teams, and they can't just assume that will pick up again.
Two: The Packers are in desperate need of receivers, and this was by consensus the most receiver-loaded draft in years, possibly ever. There were a TON of talented receivers on the board. The Packers didn't take them. They traded up to take a quarterback when they have an All Pro with four years remaining on his deal.
Three: Even if you think the Packers are fine at receiver, they had desperate needs on the defensive side of the ball. As ESPN's Bill Barnwell pointed out, the Packers were 23rd in run defense DVOA last season, something you may have noticed when the 49ers rushed for 285 yards against them in the NFC Championship game last season. They addressed those needs in the draft by … moving up to take a backup QB.
Four: The draft pick undoubtedly ticked off Rodgers, who's made due for years with crummy coaches and bad O-lines and few talented receivers and still kept the Packers relevant. He's been rewarded by having his replacement drafted in the first round instead of, you know, tools to help him. Brett Favre confirmed as much.
Packers quarterbacks past and present meet on the field as Brett Favre hugs Aaron Rodgers at halftime of a 2015 Thanksgiving Day game at Lambeau Field. (Photo: Mike DiNovo, USA TODAY Sports)
Five: OK say the Packers loved Jordan Love and thought he was a generational steal and was worth the risk of ticking off their franchise QB, they could still get him some receivers later in the draft, right? But … they didn't. They took a running back and some other pieces.
The Packers have added Devin Funchess from Carolina, who's a serviceable player when healthy. But it's still a bizarre draft from the team. Rookies right now are on such a deflated pay scale that great teams understand that you build around rookies when you can, because it gives you great financial freedom to build elsewhere.
If the Packers wanted to build around a QB on a rookie deal like the Rams, Chiefs, Ravens, and Cardinals have, that's fine, I guess. But Rodgers makes so much it's all but impossible to trade him, for years. They're copying the exact playbook they used with Favre and Rodgers, and hey, maybe it works. But they could have waited a year and gotten another crack at a QB understudy, and tried to make a real run at a Super Bowl in the meantime. Now, it's just going to be harder.
Quick hits: Funny tweets, throwbacks, Disney World NBA?
– We could all use a laugh. Here's 33 of the funniest tweets ever written.
– Mike Sykes ranked the best NBA throwback jerseys of all time.
– Speaking of the NBA, it might be back … at Disney World.
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