Packers’ Brian Gutekunst Reveals Secret to Developing an Elite QB


Getty Images The Packers know a thing or two about developing young quarterbacks.

Brian Gutekunst and the Green Bay Packers know a thing or two about developing young quarterbacks.

Gutekunst was a scout when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers and rose up the ranks to become the general manager in Green Bay in 2018, two years before selecting wunderkind quarterback Jordan Love in the first round.

Love has already emerged as one of the premier players at his position across the NFL.

Not that the Chicago Bears will be taking advice from Gutekunst, but general manager Ryan Poles is about to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft — in all likelihood, USC’s Caleb Williams.

It’s hard enough for a general manager to draft a quarterback, but the NFL’s unemployment line over the years has been littered with executives who failed to actually develop their chosen passer at the most important position in sports.

Ahead of this year’s draft, ESPN polled general managers and coaches on what it takes to develop a young quarterback, as Gutekunst has done with Love, who finished last season as the NFL’s seventh-leading passer and guided the Packers to a berth in the NFC Divisional Playoffs.

“Great coaches,” Gutekunst says hold the key to quarterback development. “The players [Rodgers and Love], obviously, themselves. But those guys got to learn from some pretty good players,
as well.

“I think that’s an important part of it is to be able to sit behind a guy that does it at a very high level, prepares at a very high level, seeing what that takes and all the things that are on the plate of a quarterback before they actually have to go out there and perform.”

Both Rodgers and Love sat behind future Hall of Famers, Rodgers behind Favre for three seasons and Love held the clipboard behind Rodgers for three years before taking the reins.

Williams won’t have that luxury with the Bears, as the presumptive No. 1 overall pick.

But, Gutekunst believes there’s value in a young player learning while watching, especially at quarterback.

“It’s about how to be a pro quarterback,” Gutekunst says. “How to handle things before you actually have to go out there and perform.”

Packers Have High Expectations for Jordan Love

If there was any sort of audition for Love to become the Packers’ franchise quarterback of the future last season, the 25-year-old more than planted his flag in 2023.

Before leading the Packers to a blowout victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Round, and to the doorstep of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, Love passed for 4,159 yards with 32 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in his first full season as a starter.

In 2024, the expectations in Title Town are much higher, and the organization believes Love is ready to take the next step.

“It’s no different than what it’s going to be with our football team – the expectations are going to be different. It’s how does he manage those,” Packers head coach Matt LeFleur told reporters during the NFL Annual Meeting. “There’s a lot of things I love about him, but one of the things that has impressed me most about Jordan is his ability to learn from every situation, both good and bad.”

Gutekunst and the Packers have built an electrifying young core of skill players around Love, in wide receivers Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and an electrifying tight end duo of Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft.

This offseason, that core was buoyed by the addition of former NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs in the backfield.

However, Gutekunst knows the Packers will go so far as Love can lead them.

“The thing that’s always stood out to me about him is he just doesn’t waver in his commitment, his work ethic,” Gutekunst said. “I think there was a certain level of confidence, not just with Jordan, but with our entire football team as we went through the second half of the season that got them excited. But the work ethic, the way he goes about his business, that doesn’t seem to waver and that’s a good sign for the future.

“Certainly, he’s going to face different challenges, not only from the teams we face but the different personnel we may have that he may be playing with. “But I think having a year’s worth of challenges to work through together and the continuity of that will hopefully serve us well as we go forward.”

What Picks to Packers Have in the 2024 NFL Draft?

During this year’s NFL Draft, the Packers can continue to focus on building around Love, or fortifying the offensive line in front of him, especially given the wealth of young talent already rounding out the offense.

Here’s a look at the picks the Packers have in this year’s draft:

  • Round 1, Pick 25 overall
  • Round 2, Pick 41 overall (from New York Jets in Aaron Rodgers trade)
  • Round 2, Pick 58 overall
  • Round 3, Pick 88 overall
  • Round 3, Pick 91 overall (from Buffalo Bills in Rasul Douglas trade)
  • Round 4, Pick 126 overall
  • Round 5, Pick 169 overall (compensatory pick for Allen Lazard)
  • Round 6, Pick 202 overall
  • Round 6, Pick 219 overall (compensatory pick for Jarran Reed)
  • Round 7, Pick 245 overall
  • Round 7, Pick 255 overall (compensatory pick for Dean Lowry)
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