The Green Bay Packers set the gold standard of quarterback development when they drafted Aaron Rodgers 24th overall in 2005. Despite having Hall of Famer Brett Favre under contract with years left in the tank, they knew that eventually life would go on without Favre and the organization would need to prepare for the future. After sitting out his first three years in the league, Rodgers eventually replaced Favre as Green Bay’s quarterback in 2008, and the rest is history.
Green Bay Packers have been here before
Now 14 years later, the organization finds itself in a similar situation as they were when they drafted Favre’s replacement. Rodgers is still well under contract with at least 2-3 prime years left in the league. The Packers have a legitimate chance of being title contenders in the coming few seasons, but with a coaching regime, longevity may take precedence. There have been murmurs the last two seasons of the team selecting Rodgers’ future replacement in the draft, but that never came to fruition.
Again in 2020, eyes will be on Green Bay and their decision to draft or not to draft a QB. With the 2019 college football season right around the corner, here are three that could get a long look.
Jake Fromm — Georgia
While Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert are the cream of the crop in the 2020 quarterback class, Jake Fromm is right behind them. Fromm will likely battle with Utah State quarterback Jordan Love as the third man off the board in the 2020 draft meaning he could go anywhere from picks 10 to 20. Assuming the Packers get back on track next season and at least contend for a playoff spot, attaining Fromm is well within the realm of possibility. It may mean, of course, giving assets to move up the draft board. That could be a small price to pay for a potential future face of the franchise.
A 4-star recruit out of high school and 2016 Elite 11 finalist, Fromm is a much more traditional pro-style quarterback than the recent slew of signal-callers drafted into the league. Being the catalyst for Georgia’s national championship run in 2017, most fans already know the backstory of how Fromm came to win the starting gig for the Bulldogs as a true freshman.
While he was expected to serve as a backup to Jacob Eason for the 2017 season, Eason would go down with a knee injury and open the door for Fromm to get some extended playing time. His brief audition as signal-caller was impressive enough to grant him the permanent job, and he has had his fair share of winning ever since.
The thing most scouts love most about Fromm is his efficiency under center. Georgia is a run-dominant offense, so naturally, Fromm’s numbers from a production standpoint don’t jump off the page. But while his opportunities to throw the ball are limited, he makes every one of them count. As a true freshman in 2016, Fromm completed over 62% of his throws with an impressive 24 to 7 TD/INT ratio. He backed that up with an even more impressive 2017 season, completing over 67% of his passes with a 30 to 6 TD/INT ratio. Let it be noted that he put up those numbers mostly against SEC teams who boast the stingiest defenses in the nation.
Accuracy is by far Fromm’s best attribute, which is in large part due to his impeccable mechanics and great feel in the pocket. His deep ball, however, does leave a lot to be desired. Throughout his first two seasons, Fromm routinely missed open receivers deep down-field. The long ball may never be the strength in his game, but to be a complete player at the next level, his arm strength will need to increase alongside his accuracy down the field.
Overall, Fromm is a very clean prospect. His experience, excellent decision making, and efficiency under center are all signs of success at the next level. His ceiling is nowhere near that of Herbert or Tagovailoa, but for Green Bay, those two players are likely unattainable. For Matt LaFluer, Fromm would be a perfect guy to bring in and groom. Allowing him to sit behind Rodgers for a year or two may be advantages for Fromm, who already has the mental side down but needs some time to grow into his body.
Jacob Eason — Washington
Next on the list is ironically the guy who was overthrown by Fromm. Eason was a highly coveted 5-star recruit coming out of high school and started all but one game during his true freshman season at Georgia. After suffering a knee injury and then losing his job to Fromm the following season, Eason entered the transfer portal and is now enrolled at the University of Washington.
Eason will garner as much attention from scouts this season as any quarterback in the country. With his 6’5 227 lb frame and a cannon for an arm, his physical traits are impressive and enough to make scouts drool over themselves. However, inconsistency and struggles reading the field at times are issues. Add the fact that he hasn’t played since 2017 and a big question mark next to his name will be a tag he needs to shake. A strong 2019 season could vault Eason’s name into the top 15 of next year’s draft. Regardless of how he performs, it’s hard to see him slip past the second round given how rare his physical tools are.
For more on Eason, our own Carter Donnick broke down Eason’s game and showed why he’s ready for redemption in 2019.
Jordan Love — Utah State
While Fromm and Eason are two of the better-known quarterbacks in college football, Love is on the other end of the spectrum. Chances are most casual college football fans have never heard of him, let alone seen him play. If you are a Green Bay Packers fan, that needs to change.
Let’s take a look at a scouting report on Love given by The Draft Network. See if his game reminds you of anyone:
“Pros – Checks the boxes in terms of size and body composition. Good mobility and athleticism; capable of extending plays with his feet, hitting throws on the move and taking off with the ball in his hands. Sound mechanically. Over the top release that is efficient. Does well to follow through and get his legs involved on throws. Love how he hangs in the pocket and keeps his eyes down the field. Aware of his outlets. Has the arm talent to make any throw. Has some impressive moments of ball placement to all levels.”
That breakdown could have been ripped right from an Aaron Rodgers scouting report.
Love has received a considerable amount of hype over the past few months, and it will be interesting to see what he does in 2019. Another breakout year like he had in 2018 could vault him up draft boards and out of reach for the Packers. But even if Green Bay had to trade into the top 15 to have a chance at drafting Love, it could very well be worth their while.
Love may be the 2020 quarterback most in need of a few years on the bench. The two biggest knocks on him are that at times he can be a poor decision maker and that he needs to clean up his pocket presence. Both of those can be ironed out before he is rolled onto the field as a starter. Being allowed to sit behind and study Rodgers, whose game mirrors his own, could be beneficial for Love and jumpstart a successful career in Green Bay.
Ethan Knipfer is a writer at PFN covering the Green Bay Packers. You can follow him at @ethan_knipfer on Twitter.