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Matt LaFleur Explains How Packers Settled On Jordan Love With 1st Round Pick

Matt LaFleur on the sidelines for the Green Bay Packers.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on in the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers famously adhere to the "best player available" strategy in the NFL Draft. That is what led them to take Aaron Rodgers with Brett Favre still playing at a high level, and according to head coach Matt LaFleur, the same thing happened with this year's Jordan Love Pick.

The Packers had plenty of clear needs entering the NFL Draft. None was more glaring than a big-play wide receiver to line up opposite Davante Adams and stretch the defense. If there was a year to take a receiver, this was likely it, with so many potential stars at the position.

Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Reagor, Justin Jefferson, and Brandon Aiyuk were all off the board when the Packers moved up to No. 26 and took Love. A lot was made of LaFleur's infatuation with Love after the selection, one that isn't super popular with the fans. He says that it came down to the draft board, ultimately.

“It was just one of those situations where there were a couple guys targeted that had just previously been picked and Jordan was the next guy on the board, and so we went with the best player at the time,” Matt LaFleur told ESPN Radio in Wisconsin, per ProFootballTalk. That explanation doesn't really account for the Packers trading up to take him, despite the clear signal it would send to the entire organization and, most importantly, Aaron Rodgers. There is a chance that Love was just significantly higher than any player left, but it is a curious move on paper in any event.

Clemson's Tee Higgins was the next receiver taken, with the first pick of the second round. USC's Michael Pittman went one pick later, while Laviska Shenault, KJ Hamler, Chase Claypool, and Denzel Mims were all fringe first rounders who fell to the second.

Love was far from the only questionable pick last month. The team followed it up adding running back AJ Dillon in the second round, despite last year's breakout for Aaron Jones. Third rounder Josiah Deguara, a tight end/H-back type out of Cincinnati, was the last offensive skill position player taken by the team which focused on offensive line and defense with the rest of the draft.

The Packers have generally done a nice job in the NFL Draft, but the Jordan Love selection led off a draft that will be called into question for a long time.