2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: QB Trevor Lawrence
One of the most prolific collegiate passers of all time, Trevor Lawrence leaves Clemson with just two losses on his resume. A National Championship winner with three College Football Playoffs appearances, Lawrence finished third all-time in passing yards at Clemson in just 36 starts. The anointed number one pick since his freshman season, Lawrence squashed all doubt throughout his historic college career.
Coming out of high school, recruiting services listed Lawrence as a five-star prospect and the number one overall recruit in the 2018 class. He received offers from Alabama, Florida, and most other power five schools, but his decision came down to Georgia and Clemson. Ultimately deciding to attend Clemson, Lawrence immediately overtook Kelly Bryant as the starter and never looked back. This breakdown will examine Lawrence’s collegiate production, how that translates to the NFL and the potential fantasy implications.
Trevor Lawrence’s College Production & Profile
Splitting time with Bryant through his first four games, Lawrence’s positive performances ultimately caused Bryant to redshirt and transfer. From there, Lawrence started the remaining 11 games, completing 65.2% of his passes for 3,280 yards, 30 scores and four interceptions. Lawrence also showed remarkable growth during his freshman season with two of his best games coming in the College Football Playoffs. Lawrence racked up 327 yards and three scores against Notre Dame before throwing for another 347 and three scores against Alabama in the National Championship.
As a sophomore, Lawrence and the Tigers relied increasingly on the run game behind an offensive line that would see four players drafted. Lawrence only eclipsed 30 pass attempts in six out of 15 games, but he still completed 65.8% of his passes for 3,665 yards, 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Three of these 30+ pass attempt games occurred in Clemson’s final four contests, including the College Football Playoffs. Unlike his freshman season, Lawrence faltered for the first time in these contests. He completed just 54.5% of his passes for 259 yards and a pair of scores against Ohio State, before completing 48.6% for 234 yards and zero touchdowns against LSU in the title game.
Looking to 2020, Clemson’s offensive environment looked somewhat lacking for the first time in Lawrence’s career. The Tigers lost Tee Higgins and four offensive linemen to the draft. They also lost receiver Justyn Ross to a neck injury for the year, leaving slot specialist Amari Rodgers to hold down the top receiver spot. However, Lawrence actually improved during this situation, completing 69.2% of his passes for 3,153 yards, 24 scores and five interceptions. Lawrence diced up the best competition along the way as well, throwing for 400 yards against Ohio State, 322 against Notre Dame, and 403 against Pittsburgh during ACC play.
|Opponent||Comp||Att||Comp %||Yards||TDs||INT||Rush Atts||Rush Yds||Rush TDs|
On top of his elite passing numbers, Lawrence displayed solid rushing ability and passing efficiency. He rushed for 943 yards in his career at Clemson, averaging 4.0 yards per carry. This rushing ability is highlighted by a 67-yard touchdown run against Ohio State in the 2019 College Football Playoffs. Not only can he navigate the pocket, but he displayed the ability to run options and scramble for first downs when necessary.
From an efficiency perspective, Lawrence sometimes received criticism for easy reads. Clemson’s offense featured many quick reads to get the ball out of Lawrence’s hands swiftly, evidenced by his 2.34-seconds average time to throw. Lawrence also led the country in yards coming off screens (686). However, this doesn’t diminish his accomplishments downfield. Lawrence threw for the eighth-most yards on throws beyond 20 yards (831) and posted a 9.0 average depth of target (53rd). For accuracy, Lawrence also posted a 77.3% adjusted completion percentage, displaying the arm strength and accuracy to make every throw on the field.
Player comparisons at the quarterback position remain tricky with so much nuance at the position. With Lawrence breaking out as a true freshman with immense success, the available comparisons start to shrink. Standing 6-foot-6, 213-pounds, Lawrence didn’t run at his Pro Day, but still expects to bring solid athleticism. With a 9.0 yards-per-attempt mark and an 87.3 College QBR, Lawrence truly finds himself in elite company.
A few players that pop as close comparisons include Andrew Luck, Justin Herbert, Sam Bradford and Joe Burrow. A slightly more distant comparison, Bradford left Oklahoma as one of the school’s most accomplished passers, but never displayed any rushing ability. He also saw his completion percentage drop in all three seasons on campus. Conversely, Burrow didn’t start until his redshirt junior season, before taking his monumental leap in his final season at LSU.
The closer comparisons in this scenario are Luck and Herbert. Both started immediately at their respective schools and brought elite size at the quarterback position coming out of college. Luck posted a 93.2 QBR, averaging 8.9 yards per attempt. He also eclipsed a 70% completion percentage in each of his last two seasons at Stanford. Herbert ran an offense somewhat similar to Lawrence in that it focused on quick-hitting reads underneath. Herbert only posted a 77.4 QB, but he averaged 8.9 yards per attempt, with a 66.8% completion percentage in his final season.
|Player||School||Height||Weight||40-Time||QBR||YPA||Comp %||Rush Yds||YPC|
Closest Player Comparison: Andrew Luck
Ideal Landing Spot
In this case, the ideal landing spot doesn’t matter. Widely regarded as the top overall prospect, Lawrence to Jacksonville looks almost certain. At this point, something drastic would have to pop up on Lawrence's profile or a team would have to trade immense draft capital for Lawrence to land somewhere else.
As for the fit in Jacksonville, this landing spot actually could be ideal. In recent seasons, quarterbacks drafted early often landed in unfavorable situations. Burrow found himself in Cincinnati behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen completely collapsed in their respective systems. Conversely, Buffalo and Cleveland didn’t look ideal for Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield at first. However, both teams build around their budding stars, fostering growth in the program.
The Jaguars return all five starting offensive linemen, which includes three solid interior players in Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder and A.J. Cann. This unit also includes Jawaan Taylor and Cam Robinson at the tackle positions. Both were top-35 picks in recent drafts. At the skill positions, the Jaguars signed Marvin Jones to complement D.J. Chark and last year’s second-round pick, Laviska Shenault. With Urban Meyer coming out of retirement to take his first NFL head coaching gig, this offense brings explosive potential right out of the gate under Lawrence.
Improving matters further, Jacksonville picks 25th, 33rd, 45th and 65th, on top of their first-overall selection. With five picks in the first three rounds, the Jaguars can completely reshape their franchise around Lawrence. Unlike most prospects in recent memory, Lawrence actually enters a situation designed for immediate success.
Best Landing Spot: Jacksonville Jaguars
The expected number one overall pick, Lawrence enters the league as the most NFL-ready quarterback prospect perhaps since Andrew Luck. With an elite blend of size, traits and collegiate production, Lawrence deserves to come off the board to Jacksonville as the first overall pick. For fantasy purposes, Lawrence projects to be over-drafted this summer. The late-round quarterback strategy continues to provide the highest win rate and Lawrence’s name recognition likely causes him to come off the board sometime in the mid-rounds. For all the positives regarding the situation in Jacksonville, Lawrence still faces an acclimation period to the step up in competition. As for dynasty, 4for4 Dynasty Lead George Kritikos has Lawrence ranked as his rookie QB1 and 98th overall player in his dynasty rankings.