The Green Bay Packers could still be years away from the NFL debut of first-round quarterback Jordan Love, but fans will be jumping for joy if he lives up to the comparison made by one of his former Utah State teammates.
In a forward-looking piece on the franchise with NFL report Tyler Dunne, Siaosi Mariner, who was the Aggies’ top receiver in 2019, shared a little about what Packers fans can expect from a future with Love at the helm. Rather than a standard talk-up of his college quarterback, though, Mariner took a step further and put Love in the same league as one of the modern-day greats.
“You’re going to get the Patrick Mahomes,” Mariner said, via Go Long with Tyler Dunne. “But I don’t even want to discredit Jordan. He definitely is his own person. He’s Jordan Love. There’s just a different thing about him. He has that swagger about him. When he walks into the building, you just kind of know, ‘OK…’ He definitely passes the eyeball test. And then when you see him do it, it’s an ‘I told you so’ thing. He looks the part. He makes everything look effortless. Everything’s so smooth with him.”
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Mariner Has No Doubts About Love
A comparison between Love and Mahomes is six shades of bold, especially considering the latter just became the highest-paid player in football and has already won his first Super Bowl ring. Mahomes has passed for more than 13,000 yards with four more games left to play in his fourth season and regularly makes throws and moves that baffle his NFL peers, helping the Kansas City Chiefs remain the class of the AFC.
To Mariner, Love could do the same type of things for the Packers when his time comes.
“The things Patrick Mahomes is doing, he can do as well,” Mariner said, via Go Long with Tyler Dunne. “I don’t even want to put a cap on him. Patrick Mahomes is a great player, but this is Jordan Love. He plays like Jordan Love and he does a lot of Patrick Mahomes-like things. The off-schedule throws are becoming more and more of a trend. It’s something he’s been doing. While Patrick Mahomes was doing it, he was doing it.”
The Packers saw enough in Love to persuade them to trade up for him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the road to becoming Green Bay’s starting quarterback won’t be as direct as Mahomes’ ascendance in Kansas City.
Mahomes emerged from his first training camp as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, same as Love did behind Aaron Rodgers and Tim Boyle, and rode the bench for the majority of his rookie season with the exception of his first career start in Week 17 of 2017 while Alex Smith rested for the playoffs. The Chiefs, however, cleared the path for Mahomes to become the starter in his second year when they traded Smith to Washington in January 2018.
Not only do the Packers not have the cap luxury of being able to trade away Rodgers in the upcoming offseason, but the 37-year-old quarterback has given them little reason to doubt his abilities throughout the 2020 season. He is vying for his third league MVP award with four games left to play and leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (36) and passer rating (118.5).
Fans hoping for a glimpse of Love in the regular-season finale if the Packers are locked into the playoff position will likely also be disappointed. The Packers have continued to profess their faith in Boyle as their 2020 backup and would almost certainly start him in place of Rodgers if they decided to rest their veteran for the postseason.
Love & Mariner Had Winning Connection
One season as Utah State’s top receiver was all it took for Mariner to feel confident about Love’s NFL future. The pair found an instant connection once Mariner joined the Aggies in 2019 as a graduate transfer and linked up for 8 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown in their first game together against Wake Forest.
Mariner finished his one and only season with the Aggies with 63 receptions for 987 yards and 10 touchdown passes, catching at least one in eight different games. He also topped 100 receiving yards in three more games and finished with a career-high 11 catches in a November win over Fresno State, which ended up being one of Love’s best performances in his final year.
Raiders Siaosi Mariner Scouting Report:
‣excellent hands with a big catch radius
‣strong and slinky body allows for acrobatic catches
‣62 catches, 976 yards, 10 TDs, 41 first downs in 2019
‣expect to play on Sundays
— Raider Nation Boston (@RaiderNationBOS) April 26, 2020
The same level of hype didn’t follow each player into the NFL, though. While Love became a talking point on national sports shows after the Packers traded up to get him, Mariner snuck into the league as an undrafted rookie and landed with the Las Vegas Raiders. He went through the virtual offseason in the mix for a depth role, but eventually landed on the active/non-football injury list in late July and was cut loose two days later.