GREEN BAY, Wis. – Here’s a look at the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback situation ahead of the NFL Draft, including pertinent history and potential draft picks.
State of the Packers
Clearly, with last year’s MVP, Aaron Rodgers, and last year’s first-round pick, Jordan Love, the Packers aren’t in the market for a top quarterback. Heck, they might not be in the market for a quarterback at all via the draft. However, with Rodgers’ long-term future seeming a bit foggy and Tim Boyle leaving for Detroit in free agency, general manager Brian Gutekunst presumably will want to bring in a third passer either with a late-round pick or after sifting through the list of undrafted free agents.
Draft Position Ranking
Fourth out of 11. With Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones, there could be five quarterbacks taken in the top 10. With Stanford’s Davis Mills, Florida State’s Kyle Trask and Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond being intriguing options, this is an incredibly talented class at the game’s most important position.
History Says You Can (Maybe) Forget These Guys
Hand size matters, especially when you’re the Packers and you’re destined to play two or more cold-weather games at the end of the season. In the 16 drafts run by Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay has drafted seven quarterbacks. Their hand sizes: Rodgers (2005), 10 1/8 inches; Ingle Martin (2006), 9 1/2; Brian Brohm (2008), 9 3/4; Matt Flynn (2008), 9 1/4; B.J. Coleman (2012), 10 3/8; Brett Hundley (2015), 10 1/2; and Love (2020), 10 1/2. Plus, let’s throw in DeShone Kizer (9 7/8), whom the Packers acquired in 2018, and Boyle (9 5/8), who spent three years in Green Bay.
That’s nine quarterbacks, with the smallest hands being Flynn’s 9 1/4 inches and the other eight having at least 9 1/2-inch hands. Of the QBs taken in the first five rounds, Rodgers, Brohm, Hundley and Love measured at least 9 3/4 inches.
So, just for fun, let’s say the Packers were coming off a four-win season and starving for a quarterback. Would they even consider Lance or Fields with their 9 1/8-inch hands?
Also of note, Rodgers is the shortest at 6-foot-2 right on the nose and Coleman easily the slowest (4.94 in the 40). What does that mean? Perhaps off the board based on size: Notre Dame’s Ian Book (6-foot), SMU’s Shane Buechele (6-foot 1/4), Memphis’ Brady White (6-foot-1) and Texas’ Sam Ehlinger (6-foot-1 1/8). Perhaps off the board based on speed: Trask (5.07 in the 40 but 10 1/8-inch hands) and Tulsa’s Zach Smith (5.22). Perhaps off the board based on hand size: Northwestern’s Peyton Ramsey (9), Lance (9 1/8), Fields (9 1/8) and Mond (9 3/8).
Day 3 Prospects
If Rodgers really is entering his final season in Green Bay, the Packers better start grooming Love’s backup. Here are a few late options with some scouting information from SI.com’s NFL Draft Bible.
Jamie Newman, Wake Forest/Georgia: Newman started 16 games at Wake Forest. He got the call in 12 games in 2019, completing 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,868 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Plus, he rushed for 574 yards. A graduate transfer, he landed at Georgia with the intention of starting for a powerhouse but opted out.
At 6-foot-2 7/8 and with 9 3/4-inch hands, he checks those boxes. He didn’t go through testing at pro day but there is no doubt whatsoever about his athleticism. His pocket presence is strong but he threw far too many interceptions and incompletions. He has all the tools, though, if he gets married to the right coach.
From NFL Draft Bible: “An athletic quarterback who moves well around the pocket, Newman can move the chains with his legs when the play breaks down. He has enough arm strength to toss it anywhere on the field, but he won't overwhelm anyone with his arm. His best accuracy tends to come in the short-to-intermediate range of the field. However, Newman demonstrates excellent patience in the pocket and he is rarely flustered. He must do a better job of reading the field and not stare down his main option, which often results in turnovers and missed opportunities.”
Feleipe Franks, Arkansas: Franks started 21 games at Florida in 2017 and 2018 and the first three games of 2019 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. That injury opened the door for Trask and led to Franks bolting for Arkansas. Immediately eligible as a graduate transfer in 2020, he started nine games. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,107 yards with 17 touchdowns vs. four interceptions. He’s tall (6-foot-6 5/8) and hits the marks for speed (4.59) and hand size (9 3/4).
Franks and Jones were the only quarterback in the class with on-target rates topping 80 percent. He’s got a cannon for an arm. However, his pocket presence is woeful, with the 30 sacks amplifying that point. Pocket presence, in many ways, is something you either have or you don’t have. Could a top quarterbacks coach such as Matt LaFleur make him a legit quarterback?
From NFL Draft Bible: “Blessed with a rifle arm and the ability to extend plays, Franks has looked razor sharp at times, showcasing the awareness to look off safeties and reading through his progressions. The knock on Franks had always been his poor play under duress. Franks is starting to put it together, but still has massive hiccups as a processor and decision-maker.”
Brady Davis, Illinois State: Going way off the map, Davis checks the boxes for height (6-foot-2 3/8), speed (4.74) and hand size (10 3/8). He started 21 times in 2018 and 2019 (he opted out of the FCS spring season), he completed just 54.2 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions. His completion rate was weighed down by the volume of deep balls he threw. He suffered torn left ACLs at Memphis in 2016 and in the 2019 finale.
From NFL Draft Bible: “With an NFL-caliber arm that can hit deep throws outside the hashes or change trajectories, Davis had a few highlight-reel throws each week in college. He’s still learning the nuances of the game as a passer, but his touch has some brilliant flashes.”