Packers move up in draft to take Utah State QB Jordan Love

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2019, file photo, Utah State quarterback Jordan Love looks for a receiver during the team's NCAA college football game against Air Force at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Green Bay Packers selected Love in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday, April 23, 2020. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

The Green Bay Packers traded up four spots in the first round Thursday night to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love as a potential successor to two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers.

In this still image from video provided by the NFL, Jordan Love listens on his headphones during the NFL football draft Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Bakersfield, Calif. Love was drafted by the Green Bay Packers during the first round. (NFL via AP)

Green Bay sent a fourth-round draft pick (No. 136 overall) to the Miami Dolphins for the opportunity to move up from the No. 30 spot and take Love at No. 26.

Love has earned raves for his arm strength and size. But the 6-foot-4 quarterback threw 17 interceptions in a so-so junior season last year after having much better production in 2018.

Now he’s the heir apparent to the 36-year-old Rodgers. Green Bay’s current backup to Rodgers is 25-year-old Tim Boyle, a 2018 undrafted free agent who played at Connecticut and Eastern Kentucky.

Green Bay passed up more immediate needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker as the Packers seek to take the next step after going 13-3 and losing in the NFC championship game last season.

It is the first time Green Bay has selected an offensive player in the first round since taking Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod at No. 32 overall in 2011. It’s also the third straight year Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has traded out of Green Bay’s initial first-round draft position.

Green Bay now will spend the rest of the draft addressing its more immediate issues.

The team needs more wideouts to complement three-time Pro Bowl selection Davante Adams, the only Packer with at least 50 catches or 500 yards receiving during the 2019 regular season.

They also could use inside linebackers and defensive linemen who can help them do a better job of stopping the run after giving up 285 yards rushing in last season’s NFC championship game. The Packers gave up 120.1 yards rushing per game to rank 23rd of 32 NFL teams in run defense, and they allowed 4.7 yards per carry.

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