The Green Bay Packers stress the importance of giving Jordan Love time. They need at least a full season to evaluate his play, which is challenging when players around him are making countless mistakes.
However, the Packers haven't committed to Love long-term. He is under contract until the end of next season, a deal Green Bay can easily get out of should it wish to make a quarterback change in the offseason.
Love has put some wow moments on tape in the Packers' opening eight games, making several impressive throws, good decisions, and signs that he can become a great player. However, there are also plenty of concerns, from inconsistent accuracy, difficulty connecting with receivers downfield, and being too hesitant when receivers get open.
The Packers have to figure out whether those issues can be corrected and whether Love has shown enough to prove he can become their long-term starter. A recent mock draft has Green Bay going in a different direction.
NFL Mock Draft: Packers find Jordan Love replacement
It's not out of the question that Green Bay could draft a quarterback in the first round, even if Caleb Williams and Drake Maye are off the board. Ian Valentino of Pro Football Network has the Packers going in a surprising direction in his latest mock draft, selecting Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders.
"It might be too early to write off Jordan Love, but if Green Bay has a premium pick, they can't pass on a high-end talent just because of him. Love has been erratic, just like he was in college, and his upside might peak as a below-average passer. That's not good enough," writes Valentino.
Valentino perfectly captures the difficult position the Packers find themselves in. Unless things improve drastically, they don't know what they have in Love. The offense around him has offered little support, but Love has also made too many mistakes. Even if the Packers maintain confidence in Love next offseason, passing on a top QB prospect could be a mistake.
Sanders has star potential. He may stay in college for another season, but he will enter the first-round conversation if he declares for the 2024 NFL Draft. What makes him so special?
Valentino added: "There will be big feelings about Shedeur Sanders as a prospect, but he's worth the hype. He's tough as nails, taking many hits at Colorado and overcoming a bad supporting cast. His explosiveness as a passer is complemented by excellent decision-making and accuracy."
Sanders moved to Colorado this season, and he has made an excellent start, throwing for 2,882 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only three interceptions in his first nine games. He also has three rushing touchdowns. He continues to put up great numbers despite getting no help from his offensive line.
Many analysts believe one more year in college could make Sanders a contender for the No. 1 overall pick in 2025. Time will tell. But if he enters next year's draft, Sanders becomes a realistic option for the Packers if they decide to move on from Love.