Jordan Love is the ultimate wild card in this draft class and has the potential to end up being an absolute steal.
His strengths are in his intuitive playing style and his ability to throw the football with great fluidity from a multitude of platforms and arm angles. Love has an innate ability to play quarterback and it shows itself in his playmaking, both inside and outside the pocket. He is at his best in the quick game with RPOs, slants, hitches, spacing plays, mixed in with go balls down the field, and whatever else fits into their scheme. When the offense is on schedule Love is in control and the ship sails smoothly.
When things get off schedule is when it gets interesting and Love turns into a 2 sided coin. He had a mediocre supporting cast at Utah State and often would find himself dealing with pressure up the A and B gaps and routine drops from his receivers. When he is running around and trying to make plays some incredible plays are made, but at the same time, some costly mistakes are made as well.
This can be seen in the Wake Forest game in which Love was an absolute roller coaster ride, making plays that made him look like a top 5 pick and plays in which he just went rogue. Towards the end of the game with 1:08 left on the clock he had an opportunity to go down the field and win the game or at the very least get into field goal position to possibly extend the game. Love seemed to have shut off his brain and was fixated on winning it all with one play down the field. On back to back plays, he scrambled to his right and threw the ball up for grabs all the way on the other side of the field playing with a sense of panic, as opposed to having a clear plan of attack. After this he manages to pick up a couple of first downs and throws an impeccable ball on the run to his right to a receiver in between two defenders, getting the ball up to about midfield. Finally, he’s on the move to his right again and instead of hitting the check down he tries to force the ball down the field and ends up throwing a pick. This is the up and down nature of his playing style and he needs to focus on his decision making and the mental aspect of the game in order to succeed at the next level.
One of the common themes with Love’s shortcomings is the distinction between pre-snap recognition and post-snap confirmation. A prime example of this is in the Boise State game where he sees a 2-high man look from the defense. He assumes the corner is going to carry the clear and he’s going to be able to throw to a wide-open quick out from the #2 receiver. But, Love fails to confirm this read post-snap. In fact, the corner baits him into throwing the out and undercuts it and the linebacker replaces the corner and carries the clear. By the time Love realizes what just happened, the DB is already celebrating in the end zone.
Regardless of the fact that he has a long way to go there are just certain Patrick Mahomes-Esque plays that he makes, such as a throw against Fresno where he just drops a ball out of heaven into his receiver’s hands into triple coverage and it lands perfectly, and these are the kind of throws that are going to make an NFL team roll the dice on him. But it needs to be understood, keeping the Mahomes comparison in mind, just drafting love and putting him out on the field doesn’t make him the next big thing. A great deal of credit goes to Andy Reid, the Chiefs coaching staff, and the plethora of talent they have put in place around their QB. There’s no way of telling, but it’s very unlikely that Mahomes would be the quarterback he is today if things hadn’t worked out for him the way in which they did. That is to take nothing from Mahomes but to point out the fact that a quarterback’s surroundings have a significant impact on their success.
In the case of Jordan Love, it appears as though a team like the New Orleans Saints or Green Bay Packers could draft him and have him learn under their respective quarterbacks, but both of those teams are approaching the end of their Super Bowl windows and may not necessarily want to invest in the future at the moment. The Indianapolis Colts feel like a great fit for Love as he would be given an opportunity to learn under Rivers for some time, before taking the field. But having traded their 1st round pick it makes it unlikely that HC Frank Reich and the Colts will be able to get their hands on Love. There is no guarantee that Love ends up in an ideal situation and reaches his full potential, but time will tell.
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