Saints' Focus on Maximizing Drew Brees Makes Packers' Draft Look Even Worse

Liam McKeone
Drew Brees and Sean Payton
Drew Brees and Sean Payton / Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
facebooktwitter

The Green Bay Packers drew the ire of just about every one of their fans after a 2020 NFL Draft that saw them trade up to take Aaron Rodgers' heir apparent and neglect to select a receiver in what was dubbed one of the deepest wide receiver classes ever. Instead, they took Jordan Love with their first pick and only picked up a tight end and a running back for Rodgers to throw to. Rodgers is 36 but remains one of the league's very best quarterbacks and as long as he's still under center, Green Bay is a championship contender.

The Packers did get some help for Rodgers in the form of running back AJ Dillon, tight end Josiah Deguara, and a pair of offensive linemen, but their decision-making still seems like a massive missed opportunity to capitalize on the years Rodgers has left as an elite quarterback. When compared to another team with an aging but still excellent quarterback down in New Orleans, it looks even worse.

The Saints had one of the league's best offensive lines last year, and added to it with their first-round selection of Cesar Ruiz, considered the best interior lineman in the 2020 draft class. They went defense with their second pick with Zach Braun, but dipped back into the talent pool offensively in the third round, picking up Adam Trautman to boost their tight end production. They used their final pick on a developmental QB prospect, but half of their draft picks were used specifically with helping Drew Brees in mind.

They used premium draft capital to make Brees' life easier, a strong contrast to Green Bay. They not only used their first-round pick on a player who won't start for at least three years, they gave up additional draft picks to do so. Green Bay can't get out of Rodgers' contract without a massive cap hit until after the 2021 season. Even if they didn't employ one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, selecting a prospect who realistically won't see the field for two seasons in the first round isn't a good use of a draft pick. As it stands, they wasted that pick at the cost of adding an elite offensive talent who would directly contribute to championship efforts from day one. None of that is even to mention that Love isn't exactly a can't-miss prospect. His physical talents are through the roof, but he has enough question marks in every other area that he was seen as the third-best QB entering the draft.

The Packers already have two good running backs in Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams; while both are due a new contract after this season, the value of a running has never been lower. They could have easily found a potential replacement later on in the draft and used that second-round pick to take a prospect ready to immediately contribute instead of taking their third-string running back who might be needed in 2021. Depth is important at any position, but the cost-benefit breakdown of taking an RB with that high of a pick skews heavily in the wrong direction.

It isn't new that the Saints are willing to do everything possible to maximize Brees in the final years of his career. They've spent big money and premium picks at offensive skill positions with regularity over the last four years. But as Rodgers presumably enters his twilight years, everyone figured the Packers would do the same. Instead, they appear to be preparing for a future that's still two or more years away-- and right now, that preparation appears to come at the cost of winning now.

facebooktwitter