Pre-draft jokes about the Green Bay Packers picking another quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft might not have been as farfetched as fans believe.
While writing about Green Bay’s ongoing quarterback in his May 3 newsletter, NFL enterprise reporter Tyler Dunne revealed the bombshell news about Aaron Rodgers no longer wanting to return to the team was “not a total surprise” to the Packers and they had even done their due dilligence on the quarterback prospects in the 2021 class “in case Rodgers did go nuclear.”
Dunne also cited a source close to one of the quarterbacks drafted on Day 2 who said he was “stunned” by how much interest the Packers showed during the pre-draft process.
Here’s what Dunne wrote in his piece for Go Long with Tyler Dunne:
Last weekend’s bombshell was not a total surprise to the Packers themselves. Another source indicated that the front office had grown frustrated with the QB’s unwillingness to restructure his deal and that the team would have pursued a weapon in free agency if they were able to get some cap relief. Rodgers, though, prefers an extension. Prefers a deal that’d make it harder for Green Bay to move on from him after the 2022 season. Further, the Packers took a far closer look at the quarterbacks in this year’s draft than anyone realizes in case Rodgers did go nuclear.
One source close to one QB taken Day 2 of the draft said he was stunned by how interested the Packers were — the entire Packers brass sat in on the player’s Zoom meeting.
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Which Quarterbacks Were Taken on Day 2?
If Dunne’s source is accurate and the Packers did speak to one of the quarterbacks selected on Day 2 of the 2021 draft, there are only three possibilities: Florida’s Kyle Trask, who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took with the final pick of the second round; Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, who the Minnesota Vikings traded up to get with the second pick in the third round; or Stanford’s Davis Mills, who went to the Houston Texans with Pick 3 of Round 3 as a post-Deshaun Watson option.
Now, the Packers love doing their due diligence on quarterback prospects. Matt LaFleur gushes about scouting “the most important position” whenever asked about it, but it would be unusual for “the entire Packers brass” to be on a scouting call with a second- or third-round quarterback prospect if they were not seriously considering taking him. Again, it is a scenario that couldn’t have played out unless the Packers were certain Rodgers wasn’t coming back, but it is interesting to think that Trask, Mond or Mills could have joined Love in Green Bay.
The Packers would have been in a position to select their favorite of the bunch in the second round, two picks before the Bucs took Trask, but there is no telling whether the team valued any of them that high. It is possible they were only interested in taking one of them if he fell to them later in the third round; though, they were thrilled to be able to trade up for Clemson wide receiver Amari Rodgers in the third after considering him at No. 62 overall in the second.
The only thing we know for certain is the Packers would have started another Twitter firestorm if they traded up and drafted a quarterback for a second straight year.