Aaron Rodgers has been extremely honest in the months since the NFL Draft. Most expected the Green Bay Packers to try and maximize the backend of his prime and take a wide receiver, in a draft littered with potential first rounders at the position. One of the guys he hoped might be available for the team was LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
Instead, the team went with Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. The Aggies star is talented, and some mock drafts had him as a first rounder, but the Packers decision to look at the future rather than the present was heavily scrutinized. The rest of the draft, where the Packers also did little to help Rodgers this fall, was also very unpopular.
Rodgers has admitted that he “wasn’t thrilled” by the Love pick, though he also says he reached out to the young signal caller the day after the draft to congratulate him. This week, Rodgers opened up a bit more about his future with the Packers and the expectations he had entering the draft in an interview with Kyle Brandt of NFL Network, on his new podcast for The Ringer. He says he liked one wide receiver that he hoped would fall to the team in particular: Justin Jefferson, who was dominant for the national championship LSU Tigers last year.
“I was watching the draft and thinking about which receiver might be there at that time. And I think there was a run on them there in the early 20s. I know the kid from LSU who I loved watching went I think to Minnesota in the early 20s,” Rodgers said, referring to Justin Jefferson who was off the board at No. 22 to the Packers’ division rival Minnesota Vikings. When Rodgers’ team jumped up to No. 26 to take Love, six top receivers were already off the board.
Aaron Rodgers says he “loved watching” LSU’s Justin Jefferson and wanted the Packers to draft a WR when they traded up
That duo with Adams would’ve been lethal 🍿
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) July 30, 2020
That doesn’t mean, of course, that a wide receiver wouldn’t have been a good pick at No. 26. Rodgers thought Tee Higgins, who wound up going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 33—the first pick of the second round—might’ve been the choice.
“I knew the kid from Clemson was still there and I enjoyed watching him as well. I didn’t know maybe as much about him. And the kid from Arizona State (Brandon Aiyuk, taken No. 25 by the San Francisco 49ers) as well, I think they liked him. And his teammate was with us, Manny Wilkins, a quarterback. So when they traded up, I definitely perked up a little bit.”
After the shot of adrenaline Aaron Rodgers got from the trade, he found out via an agent that the Packers were going with Love instead of adding a weapon for the offense.
Just days ago, the Green Bay Packers learned that the one big addition they did make at the wide receiver position—Devin Funchess—is opting out of the upcoming season. The news makes the team’s handling of this offseason an even tougher sell.
Aaron Rodgers went on to acknowledge the likelihood that he ends his career elsewhere, a pretty rare, honest move by a superstar quarterback. While the team was blown out by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship last year, they were one win away from a Super Bowl trip, in their first year with a new head coach and offensive system. You can see where Rodgers, who will turn 37 at the end of the season, is frustrated.