The Future: 2021 NFL Draft Prospects Trevor Lawrence
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
In these articles I am going to highlight some of the NFL Draft prospects that I am scouting over the college football season. There is no other prospect to kick off these posts than Trevor Lawrence. Since coming into the starting position as the QB for Clemson his freshmen year he has been nothing but spectacular. Beginning with his first start in 2018, scouts have been looking forward to the day this kids name can be called in the NFL Draft. He is the best QB prospect to come out of college since Andrew Luck, that is if he decides to come out this year. Below I am going to discuss 5 different aspects of his game. These aspects include, accuracy, poise, decision making, arm strength, and his ability to extend plays.
First will be his accuracy, which is Lawrence's ability to put passes in places that maximizes his wide receivers ability to gain yards after the catch. His accuracy is simply elite. He can make every throw a NFL coach could ask of him to all three levels of the field. His touch on throws to the boundary and deep is elite to allow only his receivers to make a play on the ball. When he is able to escape the pocket and extend plays with his legs his ability to throw accurately on the run is something that sets him apart from from every other prospect except Justin Fields.
Next is his poise, which his ability to stay calm under pressure, whether that be the physical pressure of pass rushers or the mental pressure of the moment such as a a National Title game or a close game in the 4th Quarter. His poise is very good when under pressure but it is not elite as he has allowed pressure to affect him, although it is rare, it has happened. In the National Title game against LSU last year he played arguably the worst game of his college career which was partially due to the pressure LSU was getting on him and also the fact that he simply just was off. In 2019 against the blitz, Lawrence had the highest passing grade of any QB in college according to PFF, even higher then number 1 overall pick Joe Burrow who was fantastic against the blitz. When looking back at the 2018 National Title game the pressure did nothing to affect Lawrence as he threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns in route to a championship run. If Lawrence can lead Clemson to another national title game and play well there will be no questions about if he has enough poise to play in high pressure moments.
Next is his decision making which is his ability to analyze defenses post-snap and determine the best place to throw the ball. He is a very good decision maker as he doesn't simply sit on his first read and force the ball if it isn't there. He can play games with defenses with his eyes by looking off safeties and throwing the ball to the open receiver. He gets through his reads quickly and doesn't turn the ball over often as seen by his 14 interceptions in 36 career games. Clemson utilizes many Run-Pass Options where Lawrence has to make quick decisions on handing the ball off or passing quickly depending on what he reads post-snap, and he is very good in these situations as he can make the decision and deliver the ball where it needs to be.
Next is Lawrence's Arm Strength which is the ability to deliver the ball with power on small windows and 20+ yards down the field. It's simply Elite. He can make any throw into tight windows from different arm angles while also having the ability to push the ball downfield with ease. The one area where Lawrence's arm strength sets him apart from other prospects is on deep throws outside the hashes when receivers are running deep outs/comebacks. The extra zip that he is able to put on the ball allows him to make those type of NFL throws with ease.
Last is Lawrence's ability to extend plays which is ability to navigate the pocket and keep plays alive. To start pocket presence is something that many true freshmen struggle with, in Lawrence's true freshmen year he looked like a season vet when it came to his ability to navigate the pocket to avoid pressure and make blocking easier for his linemen. His ability to extend plays is also elite in the sense that not only can he make plays with his legs but he is looking to pass first when he escapes the pocket. Then when throwing on the run he does not lose any accuracy or arm strength. So to say the least his ability to extend plays is elite. To add the cherry on the top Lawrence has sneaky good athletic ability to make big plays as a runner. There is no better example to this then the semifinal game against Ohio State where he takes a 67 yard QB run for a touchdown where he not only out runs the entire Ohio State defense but also shows his ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
If the NFL Draft were to happen today and Trevor Lawrence declared for the Draft he would become a New York Jet. The situation in New York does not look too good as of now but the future could be potentially bright with Lawrence. They have added a franchise Left Tackle in Mekhi Becton and have added a lot of draft capital with the trade of Jamal Adams where they got 2 first round draft picks and a 2021 third rounder. That on top of a boat load of salary cap just waiting to be used shows that if done correctly the Jets could draft their franchise QB and help build a very good team around him but only the future will tell what will happen.