Why Jaguars, presumptive No. 1 NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence face difficult road to success


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are a little bit greater than per week away from having the franchise quarterback they have been looking for for twenty years.

Trevor Lawrence is the very best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck (and possibly Peyton Manning), the fourth-highest-rated quarterback prospect ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has ever graded and a man who misplaced simply 4 video games as a starter since his freshman 12 months of highschool.

He is so good that he prompted Gil Brandt, who drafted 9 future Corridor of Famers in 29 seasons because the Dallas Cowboys’ vp of participant personnel, to explain him this fashion: “Trevor Lawrence is [John] Elway athlete [and] Manning accuracy. So I feel you are getting the very best of each of them.” A franchise that hasn’t performed a lot proper since having the NFL’s finest document in 1999 and has misplaced 10 or extra video games in 9 of the previous 10 seasons is anticipated to take Lawrence with the No. 1 decide in subsequent week’s draft (April 29-Might 1, ESPN/ESPN App). Jaguars followers — in addition to these contained in the group, particularly in ticketing — are understandably ecstatic and hoping Lawrence is the important thing to the franchise lastly having some sustained success and changing into an annual playoff contender.

However a little bit of warning to mood the over-the-top expectations: Drafting a quarterback with the primary total decide isn’t any assure of a future Tremendous Bowl look. Or perhaps a playoff look. And, in some circumstances, not even a season with a successful document.

What does historical past say?

Eight of the 25 quarterbacks taken first total because the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 have reached a Tremendous Bowl with the workforce that drafted them, however solely three gained a championship: Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh Steelers), Troy Aikman (Dallas Cowboys) and Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts). Three others — Jim Plunkett (Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders), John Elway (Denver Broncos) and Eli Manning (New York Giants) — gained Tremendous Bowls with subsequent groups, with Elway and Manning being traded shortly after they have been drafted.

Eli Manning, who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, is the final quarterback taken first total to win a Tremendous Bowl (2007 and 2011 seasons). Solely two of the 11 quarterbacks taken first total since Eli Manning have reached a Tremendous Bowl — Cam Newton, with the Carolina Panthers, and Jared Goff, with the Los Angeles Rams, misplaced the sport. 5 of the 11 have not even made the playoffs. Bradshaw (4) and Aikman (three) are the one such quarterbacks to win a number of Tremendous Bowls with the groups that drafted them. Eli Manning gained two with the Giants, Elway gained two with the Broncos and Plunkett gained two with the Raiders. Someway — possibly due to Tom Brady’s ridiculous seven rings (and counting?) — Tremendous Bowl victories have turn into one of many defining quarterback stats. That may be a little bit unfair as a result of even these a number of Tremendous Bowl winners had loads of assist, whether or not it was Corridor of Fame receivers or operating backs, top-10 defenses or a number of All-Professionals and Professional Bowlers.

• Bradshaw performed with 4 different Corridor of Famers on offense (heart Mike Webster, operating again Franco Harris and large receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth) along with the Metal Curtain protection that included 4 extra Corridor of Famers.

• Aikman performed with large receiver Michael Irvin and operating again Emmitt Smith, each Corridor of Famers, and Smith is the NFL’s all-time main rusher. Plus, the Cowboys completed within the high 10 in scoring protection and whole protection in every of the three years they gained the Tremendous Bowl.

• Elway had three different Corridor of Famers on offense: operating again Terrell Davis, tight finish Shannon Sharpe and offensive deal with Gary Zimmerman. Elway’s two Tremendous Bowl-winning groups additionally completed eleventh or higher in scoring protection and whole protection.

• Peyton Manning’s protection ranked within the 20s in scoring and whole protection the 12 months he gained the Tremendous Bowl with Indianapolis, however operating again Edgerrin James and large receiver Marvin Harrison went on to the Corridor of Fame.

• Eli Manning did not have a Corridor of Famer alongside him on offense nor did he have a statistically stout protection, however he did get assist from two unimaginable late-game throws and catches in addition to a cross rush that harassed Tom Brady in each Tremendous Bowl victories.

• Plunkett gained his Tremendous Bowls along with his third workforce, the Raiders, after failing to take action with the Patriots (who drafted him in 1971) and the 49ers. These Raiders championship groups had loads of star energy. Offensively, they’d 4 Corridor of Famers: operating again Marcus Allen, offensive deal with Artwork Shell, tight finish Dave Casper and guard Gene Upshaw. They usually boasted three extra on protection: defensive finish Howie Lengthy, cornerback Mike Haynes and defensive finish Ted Hendricks.

Teaching cannot be missed, both. Here is the listing of head coaches for the six quarterbacks taken first total who did win Tremendous Bowls: Chuck Noll (Steelers), Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer (Cowboys), Tom Coughlin (Giants), Mike Shanahan (Broncos), Tony Dungy (Colts) and Tom Flores (Raiders). Noll, Johnson and Dungy are within the Corridor of Fame. Flores might be inducted this summer season.

City Meyer hasn’t coached a down within the NFL, however he is the most effective coaches in faculty soccer historical past, successful two nationwide titles at Florida and one at Ohio State and going a mixed 148-24 with 5 convention titles at these colleges. That would mitigate among the strain on Lawrence.

“Clearly, anytime you are the primary decide total you are going to really feel a few of that weight, too,” ESPN faculty soccer analyst Kirk Herbstreit mentioned. “However so far as that franchise needing to go in a unique path, I feel the timing for him is nice, since you’ve obtained a high-profile, first-year head coach that has many individuals each week dissecting his each transfer as a lot because the quarterback.

“Like, if that have been a Doug Marrone, every thing’s going to be on Trevor Lawrence as a result of he [Marrone] has been there for numerous years.”

Jags are on the clock

The place does that depart the Jaguars and Lawrence after 8:30 p.m. ET on April 29?

That is when the true work begins. In the course of the subsequent few seasons, the Jaguars might want to construct the roster with a number of gamers who go on to turn into Professional Bowlers or All-Professionals (and possibly even Corridor of Famers). Even when Lawrence does flip into the Elway-Manning combo as Brandt believes, he’ll want some assist. ESPN’s Mike Clay has the Jags’ roster grading out thirty first out of 32 NFL groups coming into the draft.

The Jaguars have 4 gamers who’ve made one Professional Bowl every on the roster (defensive finish Josh Allen, large receiver DJ Chark Jr., cornerback Shaquill Griffin and linebacker Joe Schobert), however solely Allen and Chark did it with the Jaguars. Returner Jamal Agnew is an All-Professional.

Although the sport’s biggest quarterbacks had assist, they have been the important thing to successful these Tremendous Bowls. That places immense strain and expectations on Lawrence, because it has each quarterback taken first total. However possibly it is a little bit extra unfair in Jacksonville, as a result of it looks as if Lawrence is being counted on to primarily save the franchise. The Jaguars all the time appear to be thought-about a relocation danger, and proprietor Shad Khan is regularly searching for new native income streams, which included an annual house recreation in London from 2013 to ’19. That contract with the league expired after final season — when the Jaguars have been going to play two video games there, which did not occur due to the pandemic — and the workforce want to renew.

Sustained success and contending for a championship would definitely generate extra native income. Having Lawrence turn into the league’s subsequent nice younger QB can be one of many keys to that.

“Each participant [taken atop the draft], it is like you have to win three or 4 Tremendous Bowls to account for what it’s,” mentioned former Tampa Bay basic supervisor Mark Dominik. “If he will get within the postseason, he is doing his job. However Trevor’s a uncommon man. In case you speak to any participant at Clemson the final three years, he is been repeatedly praised by means of the years. I feel it is a possibility for him to go to a workforce that is a little bit extra loaded than individuals notice and has an opportunity to make an influence offensively.” Excessive expectations are nothing new for Lawrence. He took over because the starter as a freshman and went on to win two state titles at Cartersville (Georgia) Excessive College, was the nation’s No. 1 recruit and adopted Deshaun Watson at Clemson.

“I do not assume there’s something that he will see in Jacksonville that is going to make him really feel weight that he has not already felt and, to be sincere with you, [it] is what he is aware of,” Herbstreit mentioned. “He is recognized that weight to a various diploma since he is been in center college. I do know that that is in all probability his biggest energy: how he’ll deal with the strain of attempting to show a franchise round.”

That is traditionally a troublesome ask, and a few actually good quarterbacks have not gotten it performed or did not discover sustained success. However there is a perception Lawrence may turn into the third quarterback drafted first total since Eli Manning in 2004 to succeed in a Tremendous Bowl. “I see no cause why he should not be a very good quarterback,” Brandt mentioned. “You do not win as many championships in highschool as a real freshman starter within the state of Georgia, the place soccer is superb, after which win [a championship] at Clemson if you do not have one thing going for you.”



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