The Packers aren’t going to replace Aaron Rodgers immediately, but they might draft Drew Lock to be his long-term successor at quarterback.
At first glance, quarterback doesn’t appear to be a real position of need for the Packers. Even at 35 years of age, Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best offensive players in the NFL when he’s healthy. That doesn’t mean Green Bay isn’t interested in finding their next franchise quarterback before their current star begins to decline.
The Packers are particularly interested in the possibility of drafting Drew Lock this season. League sources claim the team has “legit” interest in adding the former Missouri star. To that end, the Packers plan to visit with Lock in person on Monday.
It’s important to remember that the Packers do come into this year’s draft with two first round picks. Last season’s trade that allowed the Saints to move up and grab Marcus Davenport gives the Packers the No. 30 selection. That won’t be good enough to net them a prospect like Lock, but there’s a definite possibility he’ll be available to Green Bay with their first pick of the round at No. 12.
The question the Packers front office has to answer here is whether or not it’s too early to spend such a valuable draft pick on a quarterback. Rodgers has experienced some injury trouble over the past two seasons, but he still managed to play in all 16 games last year. More importantly, he’s not showing any signs of age-related regression. There’s no reason to think Rodgers isn’t capable of being a high-level starter for the next three or four years.
Keeping a quarterback drafted in the first round on the bench that long would be a very unorthodox strategy in today’s NFL. Most teams are doing everything they can to build their rosters around quarterbacks on rookie contracts. That allows franchises a lot of salary cap flexibility to fill in talent around their young signal callers.
That doesn’t mean the Packers are wasting their time with Lock. If they believe he’s got the talent and mental acumen to be a Pro Bowler in the future then he’s well worth the No. 12 pick in the draft. Green Bay could always look to trade him to a quarterback-needy team in future years if it looks like Rodgers isn’t going to retire during Lock’s rookie deal.
Lock would also give the Packers a great insurance policy in case anything happens to Rodgers in the meantime. With all due respect to Deshone Kizer, he’s a career backup at best. Adding a potential starter to the roster behind Rodgers would protect Green Bay in case of injury moving forward.
Ultimately, the Packers decision of whether or not to draft Lock is going to come down to their evaluation of him as a prospect. If they think he’s a future star, then the value of drafting him at No. 12 is enough to overcome the imperfect roster fit. If not, the Packers should spend the valuable pick on a player capable of helping Rodgers and company win right away.