Packers Deep Dive: First Round Draft Pick Jordan Love

Dusty takes a deeper look into Jordan Love: the Packers 2020 1st round pick

I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't expecting the Packers to trade up to pick Jordan Love on Thursday evening. But they did, so here we are. 

I'm not here today to talk about the potential implications of trading up to take a quarterback in the 1st round. No, I am here today to talk about the quaterback himself. What does he look like? What does he do well? What does he need to work on?

I went through some of his 2019 film, so I wanted to take this time to share some things I learned. You ready? I'm ready. Let's kick it off with his measureables.

6'4", 224 lbs / 4.74 40 / 35.5" vert / 116' broad jump / 7.21 3 cone / 4.52 20 yard shuttle

Whenever I do film study classifying good and bad, I always like to start with The Bad. I tend to be optimistic by nature, so I like to end on a positive note where I can.

The Bad

A lack of accuracy showed up on more that one occasion. He reads this particular play well: he waits for the defender to clear the throwing lane by following the flat, then throws the post at the top of his drop. Instead of leading the receiver, Love throws behind and the receiver is unable to make the adjustment.

My first thought was that Love didn't want to throw his receiver directly into the path of the safety, but the safety's path is more over-the-top. If Love hits this receiver in-stride, there's a really great running lane behind the overpursuing safety. It's still a catchable ball, but it's thrown behind the receiver. This cropped up on more than one occasion.

I also saw a fair bit of this: Love just throwing over the head of a receiver in the flat. This play as a whole shows nice awareness. He goes through all of his downfield reads and doesn't see anything he likes, but he knows he has the running back as a checkdown option in the flat. Love doesn't try to force anything down the field and he doesn't bail from the pocket: he simply takes the checkdown he knows is there. That's great! However, he sails it over the head of the running back.

Like I said, I saw a fair bit of this. He has a tendency to lose some touch on the shorter throws. One more than one occasion I've watched him throw high to a flat receiver or throw entirely too hard to a running back on a screen. That touch in the short game is certainly something that will have to be worked on.

The thing that is a bit unfair when talking about quarterback play is that I've been watching Aaron Rodgers since I started writing about football. Watching him read a defense is an absolute masterclass. So I hesitate to even bring a play like this up as "bad," because it's simply not something most young quarterbacks are doing. But it is something worth talking about, so we'll talk about it.

Kent State has their safeties pulled up to the line before the snap. The receiver on the right is running a go route. At the snap, the safety to that side begins to backpedal into position, but he's not in a position to turn and run with the receiver. That puts the receiver one-on-one against the cornerback, but the cornerback has outside position and no safety help over the top. The routes on the other side pretty much dictate that no safety from that side will be able to drop under that route.

Between the pre-snap read and the immediate post-snap read, it's pretty obvious that the safety won't be able to help. Love's first read is to that side. He moves off and looks to his left. When he does that, the safety on the right takes a step toward the line. A high-level quarterback play would have been to know what he had on the right, look to his left briefly to draw the safety, then come right back and throw the go route. It looks like he wrote it off immediately and decided to throw elsewhere.

Again, I hate to ding him too badly for this, but I saw other occasions where he passed off on a potential big play because he didn't quite see what the safety was doing.

This is something else I've seen from him. He gets an initial read of a linebacker, assumes he knows how it is going to play out, then comes back to that side only to find he wasn't doing what Love thought he would be doing.

Here we have a Kavika Fonua [34] mugging before the snap. It looks like he's coming on a blitz, but he backs off after the playfake. Love follows the crossing pattern across the field and throws, never seeing that Fonua dropped back into zone. He definitely showed some issues recognizing underneath zone coverages.

With what I just said about the previous play, this may seem like I'm contradicting myself, but reading the deep part of the field is different than reading the middle of the field. When a safety is flat-footed and you know what the other deep defenders are doing, there's no recovering from that. But the shorter area of a field is more compressed. A linebacker can start at the line and drop back into an effective zone. Deep defenders are not awarded the same luxury.

The Good

Jordan Love certainly has some things to work on, but he has more than enough time to do that. He also has put a lot of good things on film, so let's turn our attention to some of that.

I'm a big fan of this play against LSU. It shows some of his ability to be able to quickly go through his progressions. He goes from right-to-left in the blink of an eye, eventually throwing to his final read. Not only does he throw to his final read, he throws on-time to a curl route coming out of the break, as an offensive lineman is being shoved back into his lap. Going through all of his reads that quickly and finding the right one at the right time is really impressive, especially against that LSU defense.

Love has the ability and athleticism to make plays with his legs, but he only does so as a last resort. When he breaks the pocket, he's always keeping his eyes downfield. On this particular play, his ability to move outside the pocket draws up two defenders to stop him, which opens up a pocket of space behind them for the receiver to sit in.

I said earlier that Love had issues recognizing underneath zone coverages. That's true, but that doesn't mean he was always fooled by them. On this play, he is able to move the linebacker out of the way, then get himself into a position to throw a bullet to the curl route.

On this play, Love is reading the flat/curl combination on the left, with some help from the curl in the middle. He starts by reading the flat route and sees the defender shadowing the flat route, indicating man coverage. He then briefly comes back to the middle and sees the defender has drifted towards the middle with the flat. That leaves his curl receiver man-to-man against a retreating defender. Love has a nice, clear lane and hits the receiver out of the break.

I'd be remiss to end this section without bringing up his arm talent and ability to make throws from any platform. This beauty against LSU is perfect. Love is on the run and lofts a perfect pass over the LSU defender and into the loving arms of his receiver. 


Love has all the tools to be a franchise QB, but there are things he needs to clear up. He needs to be a little more deliberate with his reads at times, and his short-to-mid accuracy and touch needs some work. In the Cheesehead TV Draft Guide - still a great read even after the draft - Rob Reger said this: "Playing behind Rodgers for a couple years would be perfect as he continues to develop." I could not agree more. There are some rough edges that need to be polished, but he will not be expected to be an immediate starter, so he will have time to polish those things.


Albums listened to: Hazel English - Wake UP!; Chris Walla - Tape Loops; Kississippi - Sunset Blush; Girl Skin - Shade Is On the Other Side; Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs; Laura Marling - Songs For Our Daughter

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

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Comments (35)

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Leatherhead's picture

April 26, 2020 at 02:38 pm

He completed 62% of his passes, so you know he can be accurate. He threw 17 picks last year and that has to stop right away.

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:01 pm

The NFL is not college football... Love has NFL coaching & two years to get it right.

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Bure9620's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:10 pm

Yes, he forced a lot of balls. His offensive line was so bad it was simply offensive, and not many receivers getting open. Utah St. was a not a good football team, even for the Mountain West conference. His supporting cast was awful. I am confident he will cut that down, take look at his 2018 stats 32 TDs, 6 picks

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edp1959's picture

April 26, 2020 at 05:30 pm

Wait...what....not many receivers getting open. Sound familiar, except he throws picks instead of being smart with the ball.

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Bure9620's picture

April 26, 2020 at 06:12 pm

Like Brett Favre yes

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HankScorpio's picture

April 27, 2020 at 06:09 am

"His offensive line was so bad it was simply offensive, and not many receivers getting open"

Uh, about that. In his 2 years in GB, Gute has added one player on offense...Jenkins, who plays a lower impact position. With a WR room that is very shaky, one OT that is gone and another in the final year of his contract, Gute decided that a draft deep in both WR and OT was no place to address either issues. So Love may face the same challenges unless the GM seriously steps up his game.

Normally when a team invests a 1st round QB, they seek to surround him with high picks at high value positions like OT and WR. Not Gute. He thinks the lesser value positions like RB, FB and IOL need to come first.

He's either a visionary or an idiot. My money is on the latter. Dating back to the 60s, pass game efficiency has been the key to championships. The rules of the game have changed a lot to cement the importance of pass game efficiency since then. So I doubt it will be changing.

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optimisticfan's picture

April 27, 2020 at 08:31 am

Hank,
I get your points and was hoping for a successor high OT pick for Bahk if they decide to move on from him (even more so than WR as I think extending/resigning Adams is the way to go and this year Funchess is sufficient to fill out WR2/3 )

However they went for Love which seems reasonable now. It was about players of value available at the pick points. The OT and WR that fell to them in round 2-3 were not valued enough and there was a run on RBs in those rounds (which was also a position of need with upcoming both RBs being FAs, plus there desire to get there imposing back). They might run a little more but the run/pass percentage is likely not going to drastically change. (55% pass/ 45% run?).

I’ll be as upset as you if they don’t go after some high picks with 1 OT and 1 WR in next draft and do not restructure some contracts to sign necessary FAs (Clark, Adams, Jones or King?). Supposedly next years draft (per the Draftnetwork) may have some relative depth at WR and CB (but this early that probably doesn’t mean much, who knows how players will develop in college. Have to believe in the players we have developing too).

Let’s wait and see

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HackAttack's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:15 pm

His best year was sophomore year. I think only 6 picks before changing coaches. I think if he learns to just throw away or lose a couple yard rather than the possession he will be just fine. No better guy to learn that from than Aaron.

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PeteK's picture

April 26, 2020 at 02:43 pm

Drafting is like playing chess, you have to anticipate future moves. He has the tools that can't be coached. Now he"ll have the time to learn the rest from the best. I don't believe the theories about Rogers being upset about this move. Even fans have mentioned getting an heir apparent this past year.

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 02:58 pm

Only the media & uninformed fans believe AR is upset with the pick... I'll believe it when I see the exact quotes (or presser) from AR that he's really pissed.

What I find interesting is that fans overwhelmingly have voiced their displeasure about GB not having a true BU QB for years..... This line... "If AR goes down, the season's over."... Well, now GB has the most talented BU to AR in his starting career... The last good BU QB in GB was AR before he supplanted BF.

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Lphill's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:06 pm

Do you think Love will be ready to go this season, let’s hope he doesn’t have to show us. Matt Flynn was Rodgers best backup.

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:33 pm

He's talented enough to go if need be... Murray & Minshew are just two of the most recent rookie QBs to win some in their rookie seasons..

M. Flynn showed who he was when he moved on to Seattle... A good BU as long as he didn't have to play much.... He was MM's pet QB.

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Tarynfor12's picture

April 26, 2020 at 05:40 pm

Flynn was dealing with what became a career ending elbow issue. Not saying he would have beat out Wilson but it certainly hampered his ability to compete to a worth while level.

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splitpea1's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:13 pm

Every player, coach, and executive is completely honest about their feelings when speaking to the media, right?

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cheesehead1's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:01 pm

Only time will tell. Most experts give GB the worst rating in the draft. I’ve seen the so called experts give GB high marks in previous drafts and looking back it turned out to be a poor draft. No one will know for 2 or 3 years at least.

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Bure9620's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:29 pm

Agreed

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:03 pm

Thanks Dusty... Your film analysis is always welcome. --- It's so much better than analysis based on opinion & media hearsay.

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ShawnO's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:23 pm

Solidifying that he should not be a first round pick.

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Guam's picture

April 26, 2020 at 04:53 pm

I think most draft experts had a late first round grade on Love, I just am struggling with why the Packers picked him. Should have traded our first round pick to Indy and let them have Love in exchange for their 2nd and 4th picks.

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splitpea1's picture

April 26, 2020 at 06:33 pm

Yes!

The only thing is, would we have actually used those picks to fill more pressing needs (like WR or DL), or squandered them on more long-term projects?

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Minniman's picture

April 26, 2020 at 03:49 pm

So is the real thing that’s peeving some fans off more a case of “right prospect, wrong time”

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chaka's picture

April 26, 2020 at 04:05 pm

Awful pick. He would have been available deep into the 2nd round. Packers need to win now. Waste of a 1st and a 4th round pick. He’ll never play a regular season game.

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MWendlandt's picture

April 26, 2020 at 05:04 pm

If he didn't go to the Packers when he did, it's almost a guarantee that either someone trades up to get him for that fifth year option or Indy takes him right away Friday evening.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 26, 2020 at 05:36 pm

You have no idea how much longer he would have been available.

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Since'61's picture

April 26, 2020 at 04:49 pm

Love has the tools and some talent. With coaching and learning the offense he will improve on reading defenses and learn how to make better throws to the flat.

My concern with Love is the level of competition that he faced in the Mountain West Conference. I never heard of this conference until the Packers drafted Love. Looking at the list of teams in that conference I was often asking myself a few times where did these teams come from? When Utah State played real teams like Wisconsin and LSU during the 2019 season they were annihilated.

I don’t think Love will face too many defenders from his college conference at the NFL level. It may take him a while to adjust to NFL level speed and play when he does get his chance to play. I hope that what is being considered talent and/or potential is not just a reflection of the quality of the opposition he faced at the college level. Time will tell. Stay well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Bure9620's picture

April 26, 2020 at 06:14 pm

It is not the BIG no, but there is film of him against LSU and Arizona St., where all the players on the opposing team are better than Utah St. Players and he made some pretty insane throws with a collapsed pocket and tight coverage. He did not play against Wisconsin, that was Chuckie Keaton.

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Since'61's picture

April 26, 2020 at 08:01 pm

Burr - thanks for taking the time to clarify. I haven’t followed College football very closely since the 80s. We’ll see how Love develops the n the NFL. Stay well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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edp1959's picture

April 26, 2020 at 05:24 pm

20 TDs and 17 interceptions just what GB needs. Maybe he can go for Farve's record if he ever see's the field as a Packer.

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Bure9620's picture

April 26, 2020 at 06:15 pm

That was last year yes, are you going to look at the whole career 2018 as well analyze film?

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 09:28 pm

Nice try... Bure9620.
Unfortunately, most here make up their minds based on little information & an overdose of ignorance. --- Real facts confuse most of these trolls... They would rather concoct their own facts. --- You know... like the clown in the white house.

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TheKanataThrilla's picture

April 26, 2020 at 09:25 pm

How about 17 TDs and 23 Interceptions....you know like Dan Marino's stats in his final year of college.

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Samson's picture

April 26, 2020 at 09:33 pm

Now that's nice... I didn't know that.. I checked & you're correct.... I loved watching Dan Marino... one of my favorites.

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NoNonsense's picture

April 26, 2020 at 11:54 pm

I can understand everyones frustration with this draft and with the Love trade up in particular. It was totally unexpected and highly disappointing to take a QB with all the other needs on this team and to give away a 4th rounder to boot.

I think every single Packer fan would have been happy with almost any other teams draft and absolutely thrilled with Baltimore's or the 49ers draft haul. All I can say is Love and Dillon better be worth it. Gute may have just destroyed any confidence and goodwill he had with most fans, his HOF QB and anyone else left scratching their heads at his decision.

I think it was a year too early to even consider a 1st round QB, given Rodgers contract but it is what it is. We will see how it all plays out over the next couple of years. At least Love is young so he has time to grow into the job, just like Rodgers did.

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Cartwright's picture

April 27, 2020 at 05:03 am

It was mentioned Love can make plays with his legs. Since he's going to to turn the TE into a fullback, was wondering if Lafleur has plays up his sleeve utilizing this skill set, the running QB and we see Love installed in a wildcat formation on short yardage against a run stuffing team we're having a bad day against sooner than we think. Maybe not this year but next.

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Packman60's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:54 pm

I laugh when I see the so called experts and all the Arm chair GM's criticize the Love pick. It's possible that their criticisms are valid, but just as likely they are worthless. If you don't believe me go back and read what they said about Mahomme's following his draft. I did, and it's eerily similar to what's being said about Love "Poor mechanics , footwork and accuracy amongst other things. Here are some of the "experts" grades following the draft of what is arguably the best young QB in football today.
Mel Kiper C+
USA Today C-
Luke Easterling D
Steven Ruiz D
Vine Iyer C-
Dan Kadar C
Pete Prisco B
Chad Rueter B+
Bleacher Report C
NFL.com showed many of their analysts giving it a C

I would rather trust Gutey than what the experts have to say.

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