[brid autoplay=”true” video=”816453″ player=”23231″ title=”5%20NFL%20breakout%20candidates%20for%202021%20season” duration=”86″ description=”While rookies are always a popular pick, we’ll save that for another future outlook on the upcoming season and focus on those who already have NFL experience.Let’s take a look at five NFL breakout candidates for the upcoming season.” uploaddate=”2021-06-29″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/thumb/816453_t_1625009453.png” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/sd/816453.mp4″]
The Green Bay Packers drew strong criticism after trading up for Jordan Love, a move that has played a role in the Aaron Rodgers drama. With training camp approaching, the Packers’ present and future at quarterback sounds increasingly positive.
Love, the No. 26 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, showed flashes of top-10 talent in his sophomore season at Utah State. But he regressed in his junior year, making far more mistakes and plummeting his draft stock. While many no longer viewed him as a first-round talent, Green Bay moved up.
- Jordan Love stats (2018): 3,567 passing yards, 32-6 TD-INT ratio, 158.3 passer rating, 64% completion rate
- Jordan Love stats (2019): 3,402 passing yards, 20-17 TD-INT ratio, 129.1. passer rating, 61.9% completion rate
Things didn’t get much better for the 6-foot-4 quarterback in his rookie season. The COVID_19 pandemic wiped out rookie minicamp, a majority of summer practices and led to the cancellation of all preseason games. With very limited reps, Love spent the entire season inactive as the Packers’ third quarterback.
But with Rodgers holding out, Green Bay’s 24-year-old heir got his chance to shine. After struggling early in minicamp, Love started to improve with each passing day. Now, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there is even more buzz around the young signal-caller.
“Jordan Love just worked out in Texas with both Deshaun Watson and Justin Fields, they all share the same agent. I spoke a coach who was involved in that workout, he says Love looked exceptionally good. That’s not hyperbole, this coach works with a lot of quarterbacks around the league. He said the energy out of the ball when Love throws it is tangible. He’s just got an elite arm. He can surprise some people.”ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler on Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love, via Get Up
There are plenty of reasons to like Love’s potential. Not only does he boast a strong arm, with the velocity to make every throw in any conditions, he is an above-average athlete. Love posted a 4.74 40-yard dash time and the dual-threat ability can make him a weapon in Matt LaFleur’s offense.
But even the Packers admit Love isn’t ready to start. The moment he was drafted, Green Bay knew this would be a multi-year project and that was even more obvious based on what happened last year.
It’s why the Packers desperately need Rodgers to return this season. If the three-time NFL MVP doesn’t take the field, Love will be thrown into a wildly difficult situation. But if the All-Pro passer returns, Love can be mentored for one more year. When 2022 rolls around, he’ll take over and Rodgers will be traded.
There are plenty of reasons to critique the Packers’ handling of this situation, including the franchise wasting years of a rookie quarterback’s contract. At this point, though, Rodgers returning for one more year is the best everyone can hope for and that includes Jordan Love.