Report: Packers GM Brian Gutekunst responsible for Jordan Love pick
There has been some talk about Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur trying to send a message to Aaron Rodgers by taking a quarterback in the first round of the draft, but that theory can safely be thrown out the window. While LaFleur may support the Jordan Love pick, it was not his call to make.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has full control over all roster decisions, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. And it was Gutekunst — not LaFleur — who decided to trade up from 30th overall to 26th overall to make sure he had a chance to draft Love. When discussing the pick, Gutekunst even indicated that LaFleur had some concerns about drafting Love.
“Matt was on the [phone] line with us and understood where I was coming from,” Gutekunst said. “I think it was one of those things where, again, with a second-year head coach, I certainly wasn’t going to give him a player he didn’t want.”
Gutekunst also looked into drafting a quarterback early last year, as the Packers hosted Drew Lock for a pre-draft visit. The GM said he understands that taking Love will be viewed with skepticism by many, but he is trying to think long term.
“It’s not something we anticipated. It kind of fell to us, and we were excited about that,” Gutekunst said. “I know a lot of people will look at this as not a move for the immediate, and I understand that, but the balance of the immediate and the long term is something that I have to consider, and that’s why we did it.”
LaFleur may very well have supported Gutekunst’s decision, but the GM’s comments about the draft and Demovsky’s report about it make it hard to believe that LaFleur was trying to shake Rodgers’ tree. LaFleur wants to win entering his second season as the head coach in Green Bay, and getting the most out of Rodgers is obviously his easiest path to doing that. Playing psychological games with a franchise quarterback would be risky for a second-year head coach.