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Penn State football: Sean Clifford to play unique role with the Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are receiving a much-needed addition to their roster with Sean Clifford.



Penn State football quarterback Sean Clifford, Green Bay Packers
Nov 28, 2020; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) passes in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend. former Penn State football quarterback Sean Clifford was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 149th overall pick in the 5th Round of the draft. For the former Nittany Lion starter, who is not the biggest or most talented quarterback to be drafted, he brings something that many quarterbacks — even in the NFL — do not possess: intelligence. According to Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur, Clifford’s intellect is what sold Green Bay on taking him in Round 5.

Former Penn State football quarterback brings an intellectual approach to the game

During his tenure at Penn State, Sean Clifford was both the subject of adoration and animosity among the fans. While he led the team to remarkable victories, including two 11-2 seasons and New Year’s Six bowl wins, his performance during the middle two seasons was lackluster. Clifford’s time as the Nittany Lions’ starting quarterback had its ups and downs, and while he was not the team’s top quarterback, he was not solely responsible for their shortcomings in 2020 and 2021.

Despite some challenges with his athletic abilities, including inconsistent throws, Clifford’s intelligence on the field was never in question. Head coach James Franklin and sophomore quarterback Drew Allar both spoke highly of Clifford’s contributions during the 2022 season and praised his exceptional football IQ.

Out with the old, in with the new

With the Green Bay Packers losing their veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers, there was a pressing need for greater football intelligence and knowledge in their young quarterbacks room. The departure of a seasoned quarterback like Rodgers, who has played with the team for over a decade, can cause a significant leadership vacuum and make it challenging for new players to adapt to the team’s culture and game strategy.

To fill this void, the Packers organization has been seeking quarterbacks with high football IQs who can effectively execute plays and make intelligent decisions on the field. In today’s NFL, having players who can quickly analyze complex situations and adjust game plans accordingly is critical to success. This means that the Packers need quarterbacks who are not only physically gifted but also possess the mental acuity to outthink and outsmart their opponents.

“We went through the meetings with him and were impressed by his football acumen and his overall intelligence,” LaFleur said after the Packers drafted Clifford.

More football IQ is a good thing for the Packers

In addition to having a high football IQ, the Packers’ new quarterbacks must be adaptable and versatile, with the ability to perform well in various game scenarios. As the Packers seek to replace their veteran quarterback, they will undoubtedly prioritize finding players who can make sound decisions, work collaboratively with the team, and execute plays with precision.

While Sean Clifford may never be an NFL starter, he should be able to compete for the QB2 role and bring a much-needed presence to the Packers’ roster due to his high football IQ and incredible amount of heart.

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