Skip to main content

Pre-draft picture: Jordan Love leads Packers into bright new era

Green Bay looks to stay in the game of quarterback development

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

"Pre-draft picture" is a position-by-position look at the Packers' roster heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. The series begins with the quarterbacks.

GREEN BAY – The Packers have their guy at quarterback.

In 2023, Jordan Love stepped into the spotlight after three years shadowing future Pro Football Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers and the returns were both immediate and substantial in his first season as Green Bay's starting quarterback.

Love started all 17 regular-season games, completing 372 of 579 passes (64.2%) for 4,159 yards and 32 touchdowns with 11 interceptions (96.1 passer rating). Among a litany of accomplishments, Love became the first QB to help lead the Packers to the postseason in his first full year as a starter since at least 1950.

Best of all, the 25-year-old quarterback only got better the more he played. Through his first nine starts, Love was 176-of-300 (58.7%) for 2,009 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions (80.5 passer rating).

Finding his rhythm during the second half, Love's production spiked considerably over Green Bay's final 10 games (including playoffs). The 6-foot-4, 219-pound quarterback completed 233 of 334 passes (70.0%) for 2,616 yards, 23 TD and three INTs (112.1 passer rating), peaking with back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors during the final two weeks of the regular season.

With the organization sold on his long-term potential, Love stands at the forefront of a bright future for the Packers' young offense after throwing touchdowns to nine different pass-catchers last season.

While Love settled in as QB1, an intriguing prospect also emerged in rookie fifth-round pick Sean Clifford. A four-year starter at Penn State, Clifford retained a firm grasp on the No. 2 job on the back of a strong training camp.

The 6-foot-2, 218-pound quarterback looked at ease in completing 41 of 57 passes (71.9%) for 391 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in three preseason appearances. A testament to Clifford's playstyle and resolve, his 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Davis came less than a minute after throwing a second-quarter interception during Green Bay's preseason opener in Cincinnati.

Clifford threw just one pass during the regular season but made it count with a 37-yard completion to Bo Melton late in a 33-10 rout of Minnesota in Week 17.

"I'm super excited about Sean," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said at last month's NFL Annual Meeting. "I just saw so much growth throughout the course of the season. He kept continuing to get better and better and better and would make some throws in practice where you didn't know he was always capable of that.

"He's a competitive dude and I expect him to take a jump being in Year 2 in our system."

Green Bay also returns 28-year-old veteran Alex McGough, a former USFL MVP who served as the Packers' third-string quarterback while on the practice squad last season. The No. 3 spot will take on even greater importance in 2024 after the NFL owners approved a change at last month's league meeting that allows teams to dress an emergency third QB regardless of whether that player is on the active roster.

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, the Packers also could look to bolster its quarterback contingent. In February, General Manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine that he'd "love to continue to bring in quarterbacks, not only for the competition but for the development of them because I do think it takes time."

Gutekunst's mentor, Pro Football Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, was known for that practice during his run as Green Bay's general manager from 1991-2001. Despite having Brett Favre under center, Wolf's continuous investment in the QB position led to the discovery of future NFL starters Matt Hasselbeck (1998 draft), Aaron Brooks (1999), Mark Brunell (1993) and Ty Detmer (1992).

To date, Love (first round, 2020) and Clifford remain the only quarterbacks Gutekunst has drafted since succeeding Ted Thompson as Packers GM in 2018.

Related Content