Brian Gutekunst knows what he's doing. He received criticism for drafting Jordan Love and not getting Aaron Rodgers a wide receiver after the Green Bay Packers made the NFC title game in the 2019 season.
Gutekunst had one eye on the long-term future for the Packers. The future is now.
What makes Gutekunst a great general manager is his willingness to make unpopular moves if he believes it's in the team's best interest. Whether it's drafting Love, moving on from Jordy Nelson, or trading Aaron Rodgers, Gutekunst leaves emotion out of it when he's making tough decisions.
In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Packers are two games away from the Super Bowl. This season is a resounding success, no matter what happens on Saturday night. Gutekunst deserves his flowers for constructing this roster and, in particular, making these five moves.
Giving Jordan Love three years to develop
It's the Packers way. Draft a quarterback when you don't need one. Gutekunst was fearless in the 2020 NFL Draft. He could've played it safe by drafting the best available wide receiver. Instead, he risked his job because he felt it was the correct call for the Packers, trading up to take Love.
Love would get time to sit. He needed time.
"Love is a raw prospect who will need some time to develop. There is risk with him, but the payoff could be huge," wrote NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah before the 2020 NFL Draft.
It's what made the decision to draft him so smart. Risky? Sure. Love may never have become a quality starter. But you have to take a shot on a quarterback at some point, so why not do it when you don't need one?
Love wasn't ready to start early in his NFL career, but he didn't need to. While developing, he had a front-row seat to Aaron Rodgers' consecutive MVP campaigns, creating the perfect environment to learn.
Love had the traits and wow moments you couldn't teach, but he needed a lot of work to reach his potential. His near-perfect display in last week's NFC Wild Card Round is the reward for Love's hard work, the Packers' patience, and Gutekunst's brave decision on draft day.