JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The consensus around the NFL is that Trevor Lawrence is not only the top prospect in this year’s draft but that he would have been the top prospect in every draft for the better part of the last decade. What is it about Trevor Lawrence that scouts and coaches like so much?
Lawrence has the measurables that NFL teams look for. He’s 6-foot-5½, has a strong arm, and has a history of success at every level.
Urban Meyer says he has five main points he’s looking for when evaluating quarterbacks: competitive spirit, toughness, leadership, intelligence and the ability to extend a play.
Let’s take a look at each of those traits in Lawrence.
You don’t win championships without a competitive spirit, but Lawrence has taken it a step further. His talent and his drive are clear. He’s lost a total of four games between high school and college combined — and none of those losses came in the regular season. He won state championships in high school and he won the national championship in college.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see how tough a player is if they aren’t put in an uncomfortable situation, but Lawrence has a history of doing well in situations where many other players crumble. As a freshman, he led Clemson to the National Title beating Alabama in the process. The only games he missed in his college career were due to COVID protocols.
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Lawrence’s college coach Dabo Swinney said of Lawrence, “He doesn’t ask anything of anyone that he’s not willing to give and not only does he give it he goes way above and beyond.” He also played a big factor in organizing Clemson football’s demonstrations for social justice and he was a part of a list of big-name stars who pushed the NCAA to allow the season to be played amid the pandemic.
Lawrence graduated with his degree in marketing in just three years. He was a three-time Academic All-ACC selection. But it’s more than just about book smarts. He also processes defenses quickly and is able to find the open receiver.
Ability to extend plays
This hasn’t always been a big point of emphasis in the NFL, but it has become more of a factor in recent years. This doesn’t mean a running quarterback — those don’t tend to last long in this league — but a guy who can keep a play alive for a few seconds longer. Think Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes. Lawrence can certainly do that. He ran for 943 yards and 18 touchdowns at Clemson.
While college production isn’t always an indicator of pro success, it’s tough to ignore what Lawrence did at Clemson. One last stat. In three seasons as the Tigers’ quarterback, Lawrence threw 90 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions. As Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said, with Lawrence, there are no negatives. He will become a Jaguars player on Thursday evening.