QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson* (6’6”, 220)

Background:

Three-year starter who burst on the scene as a freshman, passing for 3,280 yards (65.2%, 8.3 YPA), 30 touchdowns, and four interceptions, sharing quarterback duties with Kelly Bryant for four games before taking over as the full-time starter and leading his team to an undefeated season, culminating in a national championship win over Alabama. Followed that up with 3,665 yards (65.8%, 9.0), 36 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions, adding 103-563-9 (5.5) rushing and going undefeated until the title game, which Clemson ended up losing to Louisiana St. Missed two games after testing positive for Covid this past year, but still compiled 3,153 passing yards (69.2%, 9.4), 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions, with another eight rushing touchdowns. Lost the second game of his career, the Sugar Bowl against Ohio St., before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

College resume is impeccable, with a 34-2 career record. Has ideal height for the position. A true dual-threat; excellent athlete who can carry the ball on designed runs and options, or escape the pocket and extend the play or pick up first downs with his legs. Deadly on draws. Can make defenders miss in the open field, and outrun them to pick up huge gains in space. When throwing from the pocket, is relaxed in his dropback, and light on his feet. Climbs well vs. outside pressure and will take a hit to deliver a throw. Has experience manipulating linebackers and safeties with his eyes, and going through progressions. Makes anticipatory throws; doesn’t need to see his receivers open to attempt a pass. Confident enough to trust his receivers to come down with contested catches in tight coverage. That said, generally avoids taking unnecessary risks with the ball; knows when to check it down or throw it away. Has a quick release, and is capable of modifying his arm angle as needed. Very accurate passer who uses appropriate touch, creating easy catches and opportunities for yards after contact. Possesses the arm talent to generate zip and muscle throws into tight windows, and to complete throws out toward the sidelines and down the field. Able to uncoil, transfer weight, and stick the ball on receivers at the intermediate level. Can complete passes rolling out to both his left and right; even makes some cross-body throws downfield. While fleeing pass rushers, keeps his eyes downfield, scanning for targets.

Negatives:

Offense was a little bit simplistic; operated out of the shotgun and scheme was predicated primarily on run/pass options and half-field reads, so there might be an adjustment period when he reaches the pros. Has great escapability but can sometimes be a little bit late to recognize blitzes. Needs to do a better job of protecting his body by sliding down at the end of rushing attempts; combination of tough/aggressive playing style and thin build could cause some injury concerns given the volume and size of the hits he takes. Underwent offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Attempts more off-platform throws than you’d like. Overthrows the deep ball a little bit.

Summary:

The odds-on favorite to go number one overall, and for good reason. There’s plenty to love about his game, and very few concerns; a rare case of a high-upside, high-floor prospect at the game’s most important position. While there may be a little bit of a learning curve for him at the pro level, coming as he does from a somewhat simplified offensive scheme, all indications are that he will provide Urban Meyer and the Jaguars with a long-term franchise quarterback as long as he can protect his body.

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