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Pre-draft picture: Packers firmly in championship chase with Aaron Rodgers back under center 

Roster review ahead of draft starts with the quarterbacks

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

"Pre-draft picture" is a position-by-position look at the Packers' roster heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. The series begins with the quarterbacks.

GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers is chasing championships and even more history, as the future Hall of Fame quarterback returns for an unprecedented 18th season with the Packers.

After signing an extension in March to remain in Green Bay, Rodgers is vying to join Brett Favre as the only players in NFL history to win three consecutive AP MVP awards, which would tie Peyton Manning for the most in league history (five).

Rodgers, now 38, has shown no signs of slowing. He started all 16 games he played in last season and completed 366 of 531 passes (68.9%) for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns with four interceptions. His 111.9 passer rating led the league for the second straight season.

Off the field, the cloud of uncertainty that hovered over Rodgers' future with the Packers last summer has dissipated. The 10-time Pro Bowler has spoken at length about the improvements that were made with organizational communication, praising Head Coach Matt LaFleur, President/CEO Mark Murphy and General Manager Brian Gutekunst for helping facilitate those changes over the past year.

Rodgers briefly mulled retirement once the season was over, but ultimately agreed to a new deal to remain the centerpiece of LaFleur's offense for 2022 and possibly beyond.

This season will be inherently different, though, after the Packers traded five-time Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders shortly after the start of free agency.

The quarterbacks room also will have a new complexion. While offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and position coach Luke Getsy left for external promotions, Rodgers will welcome back Tom Clements – his quarterbacks coach from 2006-11.

As Rodgers prepares for another run at a Lombardi Trophy, the development process continues for former first-round pick Jordan Love.

Take a look at the top quarterback prospects heading into the 2022 NFL Draft.

Like last spring, the 23-year-old quarterback should see a significant chunk of the first-team reps during the voluntary offseason program. That on-field work was essential a year ago after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the physical offseason program and entire preseason during Love's rookie season.

Last summer, Love completed 24-of-35 passes for 271 yards with one TD and one INT in two preseason games before making his first NFL start against Kansas City last November after Rodgers was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list. Love finished 19-of-34 passing for 190 yards with one TD and one INT in the 13-7 loss.

The 2021 campaign still provided a brief glimpse into Love's potential. His shining moment came during a minicamp practice on June 9, when Love made several impressive downfield throws and led a 70-yard TD drive during a two-minute period.

Currently competing for the No. 3 job are returning backup Kurt Benkert and former New England seventh-round pick Danny Etling, who spent a week on the team's practice squad last season when Benkert was on the COVID-19/reserve list.

Benkert, 26, spent three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before signing with the Packers last May after a successful tryout at the team's rookie minicamp. He played extensively in the preseason with Rodgers sitting out and Love missing one start with a shoulder injury.

Benkert completed 33 of his 48 passes for 300 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in three preseason appearances. He didn't make the initial 53-man roster but was a member of Green Bay's practice squad all season.

Etling was well-traveled in 2021, spending time with Seattle, Minnesota, Denver, Jacksonville and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League before signing his futures deal with the Packers in January.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback started 23 games during his final two years at LSU, completing 325-of-544 passes for 4,586 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven INTs. A seventh-round pick by New England in 2018, Etling briefly flirted with a move to receiver during his second NFL training camp.

Coincidentally, this isn't the first time Benkert and Etling have crossed paths. After Benkert suffered a toe injury in 2019 that landed him on injured reserve all season, the Falcons claimed Etling off waivers from New England and kept him on their practice squad all season.

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