What should expectations be for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence as a rookie?


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence has been referred to as a generational expertise, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. rated him the fourth-best quarterback prospect he has ever graded.

Lawrence threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, accomplished 66.6% of his passes, and ran for 943 yards and 18 extra touchdowns in three seasons at Clemson.

Successful and championships are a part of who he’s: Lawrence had 4 losses whole as a beginning quarterback in highschool and school. He gained two state titles, three ACC titles and a nationwide title.

He was the No. 1 general draft choose and is paired with head coach City Meyer, an expansion offense guru who by no means had a dropping season in 17 years as a university coach and gained two nationwide championships at Florida and one other at Ohio State.

So it is comprehensible if the expectations for Lawrence in his first season within the NFL is likely to be astronomical. Might he:

  • Turn into simply the fifth rookie to throw for greater than 4,000 yards (or break Andrew Luck’s file of 4,374 yards)?

  • Surpass Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s rookie file of 31 landing passes?

  • Be named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the 12 months?

  • Lead the Jaguars to the convention championship sport, because the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, and the Los Angeles Rams’ Dieter Brock did as rookies.

  • Turn into the primary rookie QB to steer his staff to the Tremendous Bowl?

Whereas the person rookie data is likely to be practical as a result of younger quarterbacks are thriving after the NFL adjusted guidelines to open up the passing sport — plus, there is a seventeenth regular-season sport this yr — main the Jaguars to a successful file and playoff look is sort of definitely an excessive amount of to ask. Traditionally, it hasn’t been straightforward for quarterbacks drafted No. 1 general (the most effective comparability as a result of these gamers face extra stress to ship) to do.

Since 2000, the 14 quarterbacks taken first general within the NFL draft have averaged 3.8 victories, 13 landing passes, 12 interceptions and a 56% completion charge as a starter of their rookie seasons, per ESPN Stats & Data. Since 1970, Luck solely quarterback, of 25, taken first general to have a successful file as a rookie. Even that was an uncommon state of affairs, as a result of the Colts gained 10 or extra video games from 2002 to 2010 with Peyton Manning, however he missed the 2011 season with a neck harm and the Colts went 2-14 with out him. Luck joined a staff with Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, and set the aforementioned rookie file for passing yards.

John Elway is the one different QB taken first general since 1970 to steer his staff to the playoffs (although he did not play for the Baltimore Colts, the staff that drafted him). He started the 1983 season because the Broncos’ starter, however was benched for Steve DeBerg earlier than beginning once more after DeBerg received injured. Elway went 4-6 as a starter and threw seven TD passes and 14 interceptions and accomplished 47.5% of his passes.

Solely eight of the 25 QBs taken first general even began a full season. Throughout the previous decade there have been 5: Kyler Murray, Luck, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton and Sam Bradford. Murray gained 5 video games, Winston and Newton six and Bradford seven — these victory totals have been all higher than their groups managed the yr earlier than.

Lawrence’s state of affairs is extra akin to what Murray, Winston, Newton and Bradford confronted as a result of the Jaguars aren’t a plug-in quarterback away from success. They have been 1-15 in 2020, and the protection gave up probably the most factors and yards in franchise historical past and is switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 underneath coordinator Joe Cullen.

So victories probably will probably be laborious to come back by in 2021, however one former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst says successful should not be the main focus anyway.

“You possibly can’t ask that [making steady progress and developing into an NFL quarterback] from the participant and in addition burdening him with successful soccer video games,” stated Dan Orlovsky, who spent seven seasons within the NFL with Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis and Tampa. “That is the place numerous groups, in my view, that take younger quarterbacks, fail. ‘I need you to develop, however you have to win us video games on Sundays.’ These two issues do not occur. As a result of all of us hate dropping. When successful by any means vital enters my mind, I revert again to outdated habits — and unhealthy habits — as a result of I am simply doing no matter it takes to win and that is when the event will get halted.

“And in order that’s the large factor for City and Jacksonville. I believe it will take super self-discipline by possession, common supervisor and head coach. I believe it will take endurance by all these folks. However it’s received to take that commonality that they’re marching in the direction of that very same factor, however not burdening Trevor Lawrence with being result-focused however process-focused.”

Besides that is not how Meyer is wired. He believes it is doable to do each, and his collegiate file is proof: 187-32 and 10 or extra victories in 12 of his 17 seasons. Meyer has repeatedly stated the objective is to win now, however admits it is also not straightforward to do with a rookie quarterback — and there is a danger in placing an excessive amount of on Lawrence.

“Actuality is that everyone on this group is aware of, whoever goes to be on that discipline goes to present us the most effective likelihood to win,” Meyer stated. “We’re not wanting 4 or 5 years down the street, however the actuality is that you have to — it is the No. 1 choose general. So, [offensive coordinator Darrell] Bevell and [passing game coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer, I am leaning on them, however in the end, I’ve received to decide for the fellows that’ll assist us win. However that is an incredible query, that is a day by day dialog as properly.”

Rookie quarterbacks — not simply these taken first general — have a tough time posting successful data, nevertheless it’s not out of the query for Lawrence and the Jaguars to make an eight-game leap in 2021. Per analysis by ESPN Stats & Data, Russell Wilson (11-5), Luck (11-5) and Robert Griffin III (9-6) every had a successful file as a starter in 2012 and 4 others have executed so since 2013: Dak Prescott (13-3 in 2016), Lamar Jackson (6-1 in 2018), Drew Lock (4-1 in 2019) and Tua Tagovailoa (6-3 in 2020).

What’s extra probably is the Jaguars are markedly higher than 1-15 in 2021 and amplify strides in 2022 as Lawrence and Meyer regulate to the NFL. What Buffalo did with Josh Allen and Cleveland did with Baker Mayfield needs to be the blueprint for the Jaguars with Lawrence, Orlovsky stated.

The Payments had two successful seasons in 13 years earlier than drafting Allen seventh general in 2018. Allen struggled as a rookie, finishing 52.8% of his passes and throwing for 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He improved in his second season (58.8%, 20 TDs, 9 INTs) and the Payments made the playoffs for less than the second time since 1999. Final season, Allen led the Payments to the AFC East title — the franchise’s first since 1995 — and the AFC Championship Recreation.

Cleveland chosen Mayfield first general in 2018, however began Tyrod Taylor within the first three video games earlier than Mayfield took over in Week 4, making him the thirtieth quarterback to begin a sport for the Browns since 1999. He threw 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and accomplished 63.8% of his passes as a rookie, and whereas his numbers dipped in 2019 (59.4%, 22 TDs, 21 INTs), he rebounded in his third season and the Browns made the playoffs for the primary time since 2002 and posted their second successful season in that very same span.

Just like the Payments and Browns, the Jaguars group is determined for a franchise quarterback and the success that might convey. Jacksonville has misplaced 10 or extra video games in 9 of the previous 10 seasons and has had one successful file and one playoff look since 2007. Whereas returning to the playoffs is likely to be unrealistic, it is doable Lawrence will proceed the pattern over the previous decade of rookie QBs placing up large numbers.

Since Cam Newton grew to become the primary rookie quarterback to surpass 4,000 yards passing in 2011, three others have executed it, together with Herbert final season (4,336 yards, 38 shy of Luck’s rookie file). Mayfield threw 27 TDs in 2018, which broke the rookie file shared by Manning and Wilson (26), and Herbert grew to become the primary rookie to surpass 30 landing passes final season.

The Jaguars return their total beginning offensive line, 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson and 2019 Professional Bowl receiver DJ Chark Jr., and in addition added veteran receiver Marvin Jones Jr. and rookie working again Travis Etienne. Barring harm, Lawrence, on the very least, has an opportunity to rewrite the Jaguars’ rookie passing data.

Lawrence’s expectations in 2021 are somewhat extra modest.

“I wish to simply grasp the offense,” Lawrence stated. “I wish to have full management and know all the things and be snug. You possibly can’t actually play free and play very well if you do not know what you are doing.

“That is the plan and it begins with the quarterback. Clearly, I’ve to be prepared and I will do all the things I can to make sure that that’s the case. I am excited to get began.”

Going through large expectations shouldn’t be precisely unfamiliar territory for 21-year-old Lawrence. He has lived with them just about since he grew to become an adolescent.

He gained the beginning job as a highschool freshman, led Cartersville (Georgia) Excessive to 41 consecutive victories and two state titles and broke state data for passing yards and touchdowns. Lawrence was the No. 1 recruit within the nation and signed with Clemson, the place he gained the beginning job and the nationwide title as a freshman. He led the Tigers to a few School Soccer Playoff appearances and completed his three-year profession third on the varsity’s all-time passing yardage record and second on the all-time TD passes record.

No matter any expectations positioned on him — practical or not — there is no approach Lawrence will buckle, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney stated.

“He is properly ready,” Swinney stated. “What he is moving into, the expectations, all these issues, that is his regular, and it has been for a very long time.”


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