2020 NFL Draft Profile: Utah State QB Jordan Love
The Aggies quarterback has become one of this year’s most divisive prospects.
Which Love will we see at the next level?
This year’s NFL Draft class arrived with a litany of players that have divided the analysts, but few have done so quite like Utah State’s Jordan Love.
Love ended up going to the Green Bay Packers at No. 26 overall after the team traded up to find its future replacement for Aaron Rodgers.
After leading the Aggies to one of the program’s best seasons ever in 2018, Love backslid hard in a lot of respects last fall… but then again, he didn’t. The skill set flashed all season long, but blemishes in the profile began to emerge where we hadn’t seen them before, muddying his standing in what became a strong quarterback class. It’s not a matter of whether or not an NFL team decide to make him the face of their franchise, but when.
If you didn’t note the measurements above, perhaps no one in this year’s draft class fits the mold of what you would call “prototypical quarterback size” better than Love. His youth, too, may be something of a double-edged sword, but the fact that he’s still just 21 years old also means there’s more to project upon a strong foundation of tools.
That foundation begins with arm talent, which comes up again and again in various draft analyses. The Ringer’s Danny Kelly, for instance, points to “incredible touch and precise ball placement to every level of the field” while The Athletic’s Dane Brugler compared Love’s delivery to “throwing a Nerf football”.
Beyond the arm, though, Love’s foundational strengths extend to mobility and footwork. He isn’t elusive like Lamar Jackson or a freight train like Josh Allen but, as Football Outsiders’ Derrik Klassen illustrates, he’s had plenty of work in manipulating a pocket and knows how to throw on the move.
About those 17 interceptions last fall.
There isn’t one wrinkle you can pin all of the errors on — all turnovers aren’t created equal, after all — but it does reveal the points of emphasis for whichever coaching staff selects Love. Brugler and Kelly highlight a tendency to make decisions far too quickly and lock on to targets. The Ringer’s Robert Mays noted that overlooking underneath defenders so often, in particular, is particularly egregious, a pattern that NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein ascribed to “too much staring and telegraphing”. All of that points to lackluster field vision.
Furthermore, there’s also some disagreement as to Love’s effectiveness in some of the other subtler parts of quarterback play. The Draft Network’s Drae Harris, for instance, paints a rosy picture about his internal clock; others like Brugler and TDN’s Joe Marino are a little more skeptical. Zierlein points to a need for Love to continue working on manipulating safeties with his eyes. Kelly highlights his willingness to make tight-window throws, but Pro Football Focus’s Anthony Treash notes that he wasn’t particularly good at those throws last year.
Jordan Love isn’t the same type of quarterback at all but the pre-draft scrutiny around him resembles the conservation around former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. Allen had his fair share of criticisms but ultimately landed with a team that has put in the work to build around his capabilities. Teams in need of a franchise player under center will always find a way to grab their guy sooner rather than later so, while he isn’t without risk — only Washington’s Jacob Eason has a lower QBASE projection among the possible first-round quarterbacks — Jordan Love will become Utah State’s first first-round NFL Draft selection since Phil Olsen in 1970, most likely somewhere between picks 12 and 19.