Pat McAfee is not anticipating another NFL Draft shocker from the Green Bay Packers; rather, he expects them to conduct business as usual. Again, this may not be a good thing for Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers made one of the draft’s most surprising moves last year, trading up to pick Utah quarterback Jordan Love No. 26 overall while still under contract with a then-36-year-old Rodgers, who earned the MVP this season.
Love, 22, was the Packers’ first first-round selection of an offensive skill player since 2005, when Rodgers was chosen to eventually replace Brett Favre. McAfee, a former Indianapolis Colts punter and host of SiriusXM’s “The Pat McAfee Show,” claims it continues a pattern of Green Bay preparing for the future rather than focusing exclusively on winning a Super Bowl now.
“If you look at the top of the AFC and the top of the NFC, there are teams that are completely brimming with talent, an enormous amount of talent,” McAfee, who recently joined WWE’s commentary team for “Friday Night SmackDown,” said in a phone interview. “They have a plethora of firearms. If you went all-in on Aaron Rodgers and acquired another talented wide receiver, even though Davante [Adams] is brilliant, big Bob Tonyan is fantastic, and MVS [Marquez Valdes-Scantling] is a stud. However, if they went in and gathered more arms around him, they would be safe if anyone was hurt and they might flee, or maybe beefing up the security that seems to crumble whenever they have to make a stop. There are many things they might do, but with the Packers, it seems as if they only plan for the future and then mail it in.”
Green Bay, which finished 13-3 last season and lost at home to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game, will pick No. 29 in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday. Rodgers has expressed doubts about his future with the Packers, but general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters Monday that the team remains committed to Rodgers “for the near future” and that “Aaron is our guy.”
Although McAfee is unsure what the Packers will do, he believes they will continue to follow the “boring path” and lay the groundwork for the future while the majority of the NFL’s elite teams work feverishly to win a championship in 2021. He could see them drafting an offensive lineman following the free-agent loss of center Corey Linsley to the Chargers.
“They’re going to make some dull change that will benefit them three years from now, and the team will still be fine, but Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game, the MVP,” McAfee said. Rodgers was a weekly guest on McAfee’s radio show last season. “If they simply made some moves, went all-in, and thought differently than they have, it would be fantastic news for everyone, including Packers fans.”
Although McAfee is skeptical of Green Bay’s ability to go for it all, he admires the Giants’ aggressiveness in free agency, with co-owner John Mara expressing his frustration with losing. He might also envision Big Blue drafting an offensive lineman to bolster quarterback Daniel Jones’ safety.
“I just like the fact that it seems as if the Giants’ mentality is one of going all-in and attempting to win some games,” McAfee said.
Although the Giants continue to grow Jones, the Jets are starting over at quarterback. McAfee hasn’t seen a lot of film on quarterback Zach Wilson, whom the Jets are expected to choose No. 2 overall, but those he has spoken with about the former BYU star have been raving about him. Wilson, he believes, has “all the characteristics of a great professional,” and his performance will depend on the parts general manager Joe Douglas is able to assemble around him.
“He’s amazingly athletic, he has an incredibly cool personality, and he’s been there, done that for what seems like everything,” McAfee said of Wilson.
He’s still not willing to abandon Sam Darnold, who the Jets traded to the Panthers in exchange for a slew of draft picks. McAfee claims the former third-round selection still has the potential to be a great quarterback. We will soon learn if former Jets coach Adam Gase was a factor in his failure to succeed in New York.
“Is Sam Darnold a freakishly talented football player? We simply do not know due to the circumstances in which he has been placed,” McAfee said. “We’ll discover that in Carolina. I believe he needed a new beginning. I believe the Jets needed a new beginning.”