The NFL is a revolving door of talent. Some players stay spinning in limbo for years, while others exit almost as quickly as they entered. That’s the game you play when trying to put together a 53-man roster for Sunday afternoons. After two days of the 2020 NFL Draft, there are a number of veterans who have been put on the hot seat due to the influx of young, talented players entering the league.
Any player drafted before the end of the third round will have the chance to see early reps. That could mean a veteran is already halfway out the door. While some will still have time, the clock will be ticking with a new prospect nipping at their heels.
Is Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on the hot seat?
Everyone was joking when they mocked Jordan Love to the frozen tundra. However, it wasn’t much of a joke for Packers GM Brian Gutekunst when he picked the Utah State product as the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers.
The last time Green Bay drafted a skilled offensive player in the first round was back in 2005. The team is coming off an NFC Championship appearance and a 13-3 regular-season record under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur. Rodgers, 36, threw for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, despite not having a quality No. 2 weapon to pair with Davante Adams.
– Brett Favre 35 years old
– Packers select Aaron Rodgers 24th overall
– Aaron Rodgers 36 years old
– Packers select Jordan Love 26th overall pic.twitter.com/CvkGdIxGfU
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 24, 2020
So, why did Green Bay not only take Rodgers’ successor but also trade up to snag him?
“This was not something we set out to do,” Gutekunst said Thursday night, according to the team website. “He just happened to be a guy we liked who fell to us, and this was the best decision.”
Love has plenty of work to do to develop before taking the next steps as a starter. Much like a young Rodgers, he’s unpolished, but in time could become something great. Still, with four more years on his deal, was this a slap from the personnel that Rodgers better bring home a Lombardi soon?
Viewed by some as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Rodgers is still playing at a high-level. Even with little talent to work with, he is still finding ways to produce. As the years dwindle, Green Bay is looking to contend long-term.
Fifteen years ago, Rodgers was Love: a fresh new face about to replace a franchise legend. It took three years before Brett Favre called it a career at Lambeau. Will the same situation reproduce with Love? It is likely that Rodgers will still be the face of the franchise, but Love will be waiting in the wings for one slip up.
Veteran DE Ryan Kerrigan’s unclear future in Washington
It’s not Ryan Kerrigan’s fault for making this list. What else can you do when your team drafts one of the top defensive prospects since the turn of the century?
Even with needs in the secondary and potentially under center, Washington elected to go “best player available” and select Ohio State’s Chase Young. The 6-foot-6 phenom destroyed offensive lines during his time with the Buckeyes, tallying a career 30 sacks, including 16.5 in his final season.
“I’ve dreamed of going to the NFL since I was about 6 years old,” Young said, according to ESPN’s John Keim. “Like they say, you put the blood, sweat, and tears into it. I believe I’ve done that all my life. It feels good to be in this moment.”
Switching back to a 4-3 system, Young will fit on the defensive line, putting Kerrigan on the hot seat. The 31-year-old former first-rounder missed four games last season but never missed a start prior to that since joining the team in 2011. Perhaps not an elite pass rusher, Kerrigan has been productive, collecting 90 career sacks and four seasons of double-digit takedowns.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2020
Washington traded up last year to select Montez Sweat. He’ll patrol one side of the line come September. Young will likely rotate his way into the mix, but Kerrigan should still have the first crack at snaps. With one year left on his five-year extension, this could be an audition for a new team.
With the switch of schemes for the first time in eight seasons, perhaps Kerrigan won’t make as large of an impact. That could help decide his role with the team in the future.
More than likely, this is a typical case of upgrading in age. It’s not fair, but it happens more than you think.
Larry Warford is one of the veterans who should be worried
Mickey Loomis has made multiple surprising picks when it comes to the first round. No one will talk about it, so long as the team continues to win.
Thursday night offered a chance for the Saints to add a local product to their defense. Instead, the team will try to protect Drew Brees a bit more by selecting Michigan offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz. The former Wolverine spent the last two seasons hiking the ball, but with Erik McCoy taking that role, he’ll transition over to offensive guard.
That more than writes the coroner’s report on Larry Warford’s time out in the Bayou.
According to The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia, Warford has been the subject of trade talks this offseason. Although a serviceable lineman, the 28-year-old struggled late and was a cause of concern in the trenches during the 2019 Wild Card game against Minnesota. Sean Payton also states that while Ruiz could be out of position, he wouldn’t be riding the pine for long.
“We have some flexibility, and I think the obvious question would be, ‘Hey, he’s a center, you had a center last year,’” Payton said in a teleconference call last night. “Obviously we think one of them is going to be a guard because we weren’t drafting someone that high to come in and be a backup.”
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) April 24, 2020
Warford might be the subject of trade, but could also be in for a final chance down south. Should the team release him or find a trading partner, they would save $7.6 million in cap space for the start of the season. If they can’t, he’ll likely have the chance to show other teams what he offers on the market.
The tune isn’t always pretty down in New Orleans. Warford certainly is in check to excel this season, or the “wow” pick of Thursday night will be taking over his spot.
Continue for more veterans who are now on the hot seat after the 2020 NFL Draft.