It is time to face the facts and admit to ourselves that Aaron Rodgers is 32 years old. Rodgers is not one of the players that is going to don the green and gold into his late 30’s, he is simply too smart for that, so what is the next step after Rodgers? Brett Hundley isn’t the answer; even with his athleticism he doesn’t have the intangibles to be the quarterback for a contending team.
The two trades at the top of the draft for the Browns and Eagles make it clear that the top two quarterbacks available in this draft are coming off the board first and second. In all likelihood, goodbye Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, which means that the next two quarterbacks, Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook, will likely be gone because teams will be more likely to reach knowing the top two options at quarterback have already been taken.
It is still okay to hope, and Connor Cook might be exactly the type of player that the Packers want training under Rodgers. Lynch would be great, but the general consensus is that he will be gone by the twentieth pick, and the Packers sit at number 27. Cook stands at 6’4 and weighs in at 217 pounds; he was a three year starter at Michigan State University and played against top flight defenses week in and week out. Cook won the vast majority of the games he played in, finishing with a 34-5 record, good enough to make him the winningest quarterback in school history. He threw 71 touchdowns against 22 interceptions, but his 58% completion percentage leaves something to be desired. If Cook found it difficult completing 60% of his passes in college, how is he going to fare in the NFL? For that reason, sitting under Rodgers for two or three years could do Cook a lot of good, and may even develop him into another great Green Bay quarterback, though he will likely remain a notch or two behind Rodgers and Favre.
The drop-off after Cook is substantial, with Christian Hackenberg and Cardale Jones both presenting very different problems and opportunities. Hackenberg was a highly touted recruit for Penn State, but struggled mightily to feel oncoming rushers from the pocket. He is a tough kid, but it just doesn’t appear he has what it takes to succeed at the next level. Cardale Jones is a different situation all together. Jones may be one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks in this draft class, but he is prone to immature mistakes both on the field and off of it. Think of Jones as kind of a new-age Jamarcus Russell.
Rodgers will be 33 before the playoffs start this year and he has made enough money to take the rest of his life off and live on the beach. Rodgers has always been a very intelligent person and has given no indication that he plans on playing into his late 30’s. If he retires after his 35th birthday he will go down as one of the greatest Packers of all time, regardless of how many championships he has surrounding him.