The Green Bay Packers wanted to find a backup quarterback behind Jordan Love in the 2023 NFL Draft, but fans weren’t thrilled when they felt like the team reached for one with questionable ability.
Despite other prospects on the board at more pressing positions of need, the Packers elected former Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the fifth round of this year’s draft. A long-time starter for the Nittany Lions, Clifford was brought in prior to the draft on a top-3o visit, and will now have an opportunity to compete for the backup QB job.
However, considering he was ranked 423rd on the consensus big board and struggle at times in college, Packers fans took to Twitter to voice their frustrations about Clifford being taken with the 149th overall pick.
Former Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Renner was on the Bleacher Report live stream for the draft, and his reaction was not the cleanest.
“Sean Clifford, are you sh—–g me?” Renner asked. “No way. Sean Clifford? I don’t want to hate on him to much, because he’s already gotten that from every Penn State fan in existence.”
“I don’t think the Packers planned to take Sean Clifford in the top 150,” Zach Kruse with The Packers Wire tweeted. “But they needed a QB, there was a QB run, he was the only QB left they liked, and the board was still strong at other positions.”
“Sean Clifford,” one fan tweeted in frustration. “He’s going to wear his draft grade. How on Earth do you take him in round five?”
It wasn’t a popular pick, but at least the Packers now have an established backup quarterback behind Love.
Who Is Sean Clifford?
Despite heading into his first season, Clifford is 111 days older than the current Packers starting quarterback in Love. While that age may be a concern from a draft evaluation, Clifford comes into the NFL with significant playing experience.
Clifford was a 3-star recruit out of high school in Cincinnati, Ohio before committing to Penn State back in 2017. He took over as the starter for the Nittany Lions in 2019, playing in 51 games over his six college seasons with 10,661 passing yards for 86 touchdowns and 31 interceptions.
Although Clifford struggled with accuracy and consistency during his time at Penn State, the 24-year-old does come into the NFL with a very strong athletic profile. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.03 put him 89th all-time out of 911 qualified quarterbacks since 1987.
Clifford won’t be expected to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but if he’s ever put on the field, that athleticism will help him overcome some other deficiencies in his game.
Green Bay’s Exciting Draft Class
While fans may have been disappointed with the Clifford pick, other incoming rookies should excite the rest of the fanbase.
With their first-round pick, the Packers took Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. Known as “Hercules,” the talented pass rusher brings plenty of athleticism and power to Green Bay. The Packers also brought in Auburn’s Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks out Bowling Green to add some other pass rushers with defensive line versatility.
Despite complaints from fans that the team passed on Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Packers ended up drafting five pass catchers during the draft, including two top tight ends in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. The Packers also added three new receivers in Jayden Reed, Grant DuBose, and Dontayvion Wicks.
With help for Jordan Love and some additional players up front on defense, the Packers could look a whole lot different in 2023.