Rookie Rundown: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Rookie Rundown: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

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This is the guy.

Trevor Lawrence is beyond the consensus first pick in the NFL draft. There hasn’t been any reasonable question about which player deserves to lead the 2021 rookie class. In a draft that is considered rich in elite quarterback prospects, Lawrence still stands above them all. He is speculated to be the reason why Urban Meyer agreed to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That’s a heavy set of expectations for any player, and yet there are plenty of reasons that he will not disappoint. Out of 40 games played, he only lost two – the 2019 National Championship and Ohio State in the second round of the 2020 college playoffs. He went 15-0 as a freshman ending with a National Championship over Alabama. He was 14-1 as a sophomore, losing only to LSU in his second trip to the National Championship.

Lawrence improved as a passer and rusher in each season. He is considered as one of the most promising quarterbacks ever to enter the NFL draft. That sounds like lofty hype but it is a conclusion reached by virtually all NFL scouts and analysts.

His accolades include CFP National Championship MVP (2018), 3-time ACC Champion, Heisman Trophy Runner-up (2020), ACC Player of the Year (2020) and even the USA Today High School Football Player of the Year (2017). In high school, he broke the Georgia state record for passing yards and touchdowns previously held by Deshaun Watson (who also played for Clemson). He won the Georgia state championship in his final two seasons in high school.

Lawrence had to move up his Pro Day to February 12th since he underwent labrum surgery on his non-throwing arm afterward. He’s expected to be 100% ready for training camp. His Pro Day did nothing to change his draft status where he impressed on his 52 passes even though he did not need to do anything to continue to be the locked-in No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

The last two years saw the first pick spent on a quarterback – Joe Burrow (2020) and Kyler Murray (2019). Lawrence rates higher than either of those players.

Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 220 pounds
40 time: 4.7 seconds

Trevor Lawrence Clemson stats (2018-20)

Year
Games
Runs
Yards
TD
Comp
Att
Yards
Avg
TD
Int
QBR
2018
15
60
177
1
259
397
3280
8.3
30
4
157.6
2019
15
103
563
9
268
407
3665
9.0
36
8
166.7
2020
10
68
203
8
231
334
3153
9.4
24
5
169.2

While no player enters the NFL without some weaknesses, even if only relative, Lawrence shows up on draft day with a suitcase full of talent and just a pocketful of “room to improve.”

Pros

  • Tremendous athleticism at 6-6 that can avoid the rush or take off and use his 4.7/40 speed to gain chunks of yards.
  • Arm strength is off the charts but also has great touch.
  • Accuracy at all three levels means he fits in any passing scheme.
  • Noted for touch on deep passes.
  • Strong center of gravity makes him hard to tackle.
  • Superior football IQ – gifted in reading defenses and working through progressions.
  • Can place pinpoint passes into small windows for tightly-covered receivers.
  • At his best in the red zone where his anticipation, calmness and velocity shine.
  • Considered a generational talent.
  • Described as “born to be a quarterback.” Checks every box.
  • Wildly successful at every level he’s ever played.

Cons

  • Minor inconsistency in footwork.
  • Can lock onto one receiver and throw reckless passes.
  • Won’t work in an offense stuffed with elite talent as he did at Clemson.

Lawrence isn’t flawless, but he’s as close as any other quarterback that has entered the NFL drafts for many years.

Fantasy football outlook

There isn’t any question where Lawrence is going to end up. Urban Meyer lands with the Jaguars and dangling this rookie quarterback was enough to him to take over an NFL team that has plenty of holes to fill. Lawrence has been compared to Andrew Luck by many analysts and carries a wave of optimism even in his rookie season.

He’ll be a hot commodity in dynasty drafts since his long-term potential is as high as any other young quarterback. To his credit, he’ll face a division with the Colts, Titans, and Texans that has been profitable to passing offenses. But he’ll also face off against the NFC West and AFC East which sport better defenses for his first season.

The Jaguars install a new offense under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who has spent 15 years coordinating offenses in the NFL. He recently directed  Matt Stafford (2019-2020) and Russell Wilson (2012-2017) and was hired with Lawrence in mind.

Any new installation of an offense always takes time and in this case, will do so with a rookie quarterback learning an entirely different world from his time at Clemson.  What will impact Lawrence’s first season the most is what the Jaguars do with their receivers in free agency and the NFL draft.

Meyers and Bevell want speed in their receivers and that will pay off with the big arm of Lawrence throwing deep strikes. But the roster currently only sports D.J. Chark as a speedster (4.34/40). The rest of the receivers are all considered slow in NFL terms, including Laviska Shenault (4.58), Keelan Cole (4.59), and Collin Johnson (4.58).

The Jaguars hold the 1.01, 1.25, 2.01, and 2.14 picks in the draft and are expected to consider upgrading the wideouts with one of those. Any upgrades to the receivers help Lawrence, at least in the long term. But if Lawrence can deliver on his high expectations – and he always has – then his presence will boost the fantasy stock of any starting receivers.

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