2020 NFL Draft Profile: Strengths, weaknesses, best Fantasy fits for Jordan Love
Two years of very different quarterback play at Utah State is leading to mixed takes on Jordan Love. Does he have a chance to break out as a rookie?
Utah State's Jordan Love was fantastic in 2018, tied for eighth in the nation with 32 passing touchdowns (more than Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert) and 14th in passing yards with 3,567 (more than Drew Lock). Then his coaching staff got raided and his surrounding offense changed dramatically, leading to a very disappointing 2019 in which his touchdowns slipped from 32 to 20 and his interceptions nearly tripled. After 2.5 years as the Aggies' starter, Love contemplated transferring schools but opted to leave for the NFL instead. A week later he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, but the charges were dropped. He had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine, opening up the idea that he'll be not just a first-round pick, but potentially a top-10 choice.
Numbers to Know
Height: 6-3 3/4
Weight: 224 pounds
Age: Nov. 2, 1998 (Week 1 age: 21)
Hand: 10 1/2 inches
Arm: 32 5/8 inches
Wingspan: 80 inches
40 time: 4.74 seconds
2019: 61.9% completion rate, 3,402 yards, 20 touchdowns, 17 interceptions; 81 rushes, 175 rush yards, 0 rushing touchdowns
In two games against top 25 ranked teams, Boise State and LSU, Love completed 54.5% of his passes for 359 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.
2018: 64% completion rate, 3,567 yards, 32 touchdowns, six interceptions; 43 rushes, 63 rush yards, seven rushing touchdowns
In two games against top-25 ranked teams Boise State and Michigan State, Love completed 63.7% of his throws for 682 yards with three scores, three interceptions and a rushing touchdown.
Career: 61.2% completion rate, 8,600 yards, 60 touchdowns, 29 interceptions; 170 rushes, 403 rush yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 12 fumbles (six lost)
Known Injury History
- Possible concussion, Nov. 2018
Love looks effortless when passing, including when he moves out of the pocket and finds an open receiver downfield (especially to his right). He's also fearless, routinely delivering throws when about to get hit and rarely cowering to a pass rush. I'd say his arm strength seems good, fully capable of pushing the ball over 40 yards in the air when need be. Love also wins on broken plays, keeping chances of a big play alive be it by staying on his feet and looking downfield or changing his delivery to zip a pass to a nearby option.
And despite only 403 rush yards through three seasons, Love can be a threat to pick up chunks of yardage on RPOs or broken plays. Love is a bit of a gamer, never seeming to melt down when a game was on the line.
Love's 2019 play was way more inconsistent than 2018. There was a lot of change around him on and off the field, notably his O-line and coaching staff, so perhaps he was pressing too much to make things happen. Hand in hand with that was his footwork, which was so up-and-down -- for every great back-foot throw he'd make, he's also be off-balance when he made a terrible decision. He was definitely streaky. In 2019 he was also more inconsistent reading defenses and simply wasn't as accurate. Many linebackers had interceptions when Love missed seeing them, and several defenders gobbled up takeaways because he threw with more touch than power. Which version of Love will NFL coaches get? How quickly can these weaknesses be remedied?
Finally, Love's offenses leaned quite a bit on quick screens and slants which meant lots of predetermined reads and quick decisions. It resulted in a 9.9-yard average depth of target, tied for 42nd-best in college football, according to Pro Football Focus. Can Love thrive in any NFL offense or must it be one tailored to his strengths?
Love has some great intangibles and no doubt has potential, but if he's going to succeed he'll either need to land in the perfect spot or take his time to develop. If it's the perfect spot scenario, Love could begin his career with numbers like Derek Carr when he was a rookie (3,270 yards, 21 touchdowns). If it's the take-his-time scenario, hopefully he'll be more like Alex Smith than Jake Locker.
Favorite Fantasy Fits
Love's skills should translate well into a West Coast offense, especially one that will utilize a mobile passer and has a good offensive line. To that end, Indianapolis would be delightful for Love. He'd probably spend six-plus games on the bench behind Phillip Rivers, but then would take over and conceivably help the offense. For similar reasons, Las Vegas would also be a nice place for him to land.
The Chargers might also be a good landing spot. Their offense has a number of explosive short-area targets Love could lean on, though their offensive line could make things hard on him just as Utah State's O-line was a problem in 2019. A coaching staff refresh could also be in the works if things go bad this fall, which might stunt his development.
Fantasy Bottom Line
Love shouldn't be counted on for Fantasy help in 2020 until it's clear he's the guy. Even if it's clear he'll start Week 1, he'll only get taken in the occasional seasonal league draft unless you can start multiple quarterbacks, and even then he'll go after 80th overall. Expect his draft stock to go into the late rounds of dynasty/keeper start-ups and no sooner than the middle of Round 2 in rookie-only drafts.
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