1. What if Aaron Rodgers didn’t fall to the Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft?
Aaron Rodgers fell to the Green Bay Packers at No. 24 in the 2005 NFL Draft after many people projected him to be a top-10 pick.
The pick was controversial at the time as the Packers already had a durable future Hall-of-Famer with Brett Favre.
The San Francisco 49ers, who passed on the hometown boy and took Alex Smith, look stupid as a result of passing on Rodgers as do the other quarterback-needy teams who passed on him such as the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Meanwhile, Ted Thompson and the Packers look like geniuses for picking Rodgers and having the handoff from Favre to Rodgers, which, in my opinion, is better than the handoff of Joe Montana to Steve Young or Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck.
What if Aaron Rodgers didn’t fall to the Packers in the 2005 NFL Draft?
Let’s say the Cleveland Browns picked Rodgers at pick three instead of Braylon Edwards, and the Packers didn’t have the opportunity to select their next franchise quarterback.
The Packers’ level of success doesn’t change at all in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons as Rodgers was still the backup.
Green Bay’s personnel department begins to look for another quarterback in the next few drafts, and they select Matt Leinart in 2006 to groom behind Favre.
Leinart sits behind Favre for two years.
The Packers decide to move on from Favre in 2008 just like they did in reality, and Leinart takes the reins in Green Bay.
The Packers still draft Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn to add depth at the quarterback position just like they did when Rodgers was preparing to take over, and I think Leinart would have beat them if they had a quarterback competition.
Leinart struggles initially in his first year as a starting quarterback just like he did in his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals, but does slightly better as he was groomed by Mike McCarthy, who did a excellent job preparing Rodgers to replace Favre.
Leinart turns out to be a average quarterback in the next few years but struggles to get the Packers to the postseason.
The Packers move on from Thompson in the 2010 offseason. McCarthy barely keeps his job as most of the Leinart blame falls on Thompson, and the Packers hire their director of player personnel John Schneider to be their next general manager.
Schneider and McCarthy keep Leinart as the starting quarterback in 2010, but move on from him in 2011. They draft Jake Locker early in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Locker struggles early on and the Packers realize he is not the answer at quarterback. As a result they draft Mike Glennon in 2013 to compete with Locker. Glennon wins the quarterback competition that offseason but is mediocre.
The Packers draft Teddy Bridgewater in 2014 to be their new starting quarterback and move on from Locker, keeping Glennon as the backup.
The Packers reach the postseason for the first time since the Favre-era with Bridgewater in 2014 and 2015, mostly because they have an elite defense with names like Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner.
The Packers have recently given Bridgewater a contract extension in this scenario, as they have made it to the postseason with him a few times, but many people doubt that he will ever become a top-10 quarterback.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is a good but not great NFL quarterback with the Cleveland Browns as he doesn’t have the luxury of waiting three years behind Favre and doesn’t get to develop with a offensive-minded head coach in Mike McCarthy.
Moving on from Favre in 2008 becomes one of the worst decisions in recent NFL history as the Packers struggle to regain the magic they once had.