How often does a player go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 player in his draft class? Trevor Lawrence entered his collegiate career as the No. 1 overall recruit at any position by 247Sports and by Rivals -- ESPN had him as the No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class -- and he was deemed the likely No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft basically as soon as he stepped on the field at Clemson. And in a few short hours, the Jaguars will make him the No. 1 pick in the draft.
The hype train that trailed Lawrence upon his arrival at Clemson goes back even further -- he was named the USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year and the U.S Army Player of the year both in his junior and senior seasons at Cartersville High School in Georgia. It was there he started all four seasons, winning two state titles and finishing with a 52-2 record. Oh, and he also broke Deshaun Watson's high school records in passing yards (13,908) and passing touchdowns (161).
Lawrence didn't disappoint when he first got his chance to take over as Clemson's quarterback. In 2018, as a true freshman, he burst onto the scene with a 30:4 touchdown to interception ratio and graded out as one of the best QBs in college football, per PFF. He has improved every season since. Lawrence is not a perfect prospect, but his combination of floor and ceiling make him the clear-cut best QB prospect in this class. In Fantasy Football, he projects to be a difference-maker early (similar to what we saw with Justin Herbert) due to his ability to layer passes with velocity to all three levels of the field, and his underrated rushing ability.
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We're breaking down everything you need to know about Lawrence from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
2021 Fantasy Impact
Lawrence has been the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft basically from the second he stepped on Clemson's campus. He led the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 record as a freshman, passing for 347 yards and three touchdowns in a thrashing of Alabama and Tua Tagovailoa. He ultimately ended up passing for 90 touchdowns in 40 games in college, averaging 8.9 yards per attempt with just 17 interceptions, and he's pretty widely agreed to be the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
Of course, all that means he has the pleasure of joining the worst team in the NFL. However, despite Jacksonville's 1-15 record last season, this isn't a terrible spot for a young QB to end up. Urban Meyer is an unproven coach at the NFL level, but his collegiate success speaks for itself. And the Jaguars actually have a pretty solid core of skill position players with James Robinson at RB and DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones at WR -- plus whoever they draft with one of their seven picks in the first four rounds. That's actually not bad.
You shouldn't expect the Jaguars to all of a sudden become a very good offense in 2021, and Lawrence himself may not be more than a fringe Fantasy option as a rookie -- there have been just five rookie QB to finish in the top 16 at the position overall in the last six seasons. But, he certainly raises the ceiling of this offense, and depending on which WR emerge as the top options, it's not inconceivable that we could have multiple starting caliber options on this team. And, who knows, maybe Lawrence goes all Justin Herbert on us and dominates -- he's a much better prospect than Herbert was coming out, after all.
Jaguars fans are obviously thrilled, and Fantasy players should be plenty excited about having Lawrence in the NFL, even if he might not start playing like a real difference maker until 2022. -Chris Towers
Lawrence has underrated upside as rusher (18 rushing TD in 40 college games), so in one-QB Dynasty formats, he might even be worth reaching on ahead of his consensus. In recent seasons especially, we've seen what a quarterback with rushing upside can mean for Fantasy purposes -- in some ways serving as a cheat code -- specifically if used in the red zone. Despite Clemson not working in much of a zone-read option element to their offense (even though Lawrence was more than capable), when he escaped the pocket and took off with the ball, Trevor at times beat linebackers on angles in space. He didn't run a 40-yard dash at his pro day, but I imagine he would've surprised with his speed. In any 2QB and Superflex leagues, Lawrence is and should be the 1.1.
- Lawrence throws a "tall ball," meaning his ball placement on throws will often put the receiver in an excellent position to make a hands catch and create maximum yards after the catch.
- Possesses the arm talent to make throws consistently at all three levels of the field in any weather conditions. This allows an offensive coordinator a more diverse and expansive playbook, and it makes it difficult for defensive coordinators to game plan on a weekly basis.
- Possesses the poise to keep eyes downfield and deliver the ball accurately in the face of pressure.
- Advanced mental processing before the snap that resembles a multi-year veteran at the NFL.
- One of the most efficient deep passers in the class (more on that below in advanced stats).
- Advanced mental processing after the snap for a collegiate QB -- can see the middle of the field very well.
- Tons of high-level experience in high-leverage situations. Lawrence started as a true freshman and 40 career games at Clemson. He was CFB semifinals MVP in 2018, 2019 and CFB national championship MVP in 2019.
- Upside as a runner both on designed and improvised plays -- 943 rushing yards and 18 TDs at Clemson.
- Advanced level pocket presence -- this might be his most underrated and best trait. How often do you remember Lawrence taking sacks at Clemson? And how many top draft picks has Clemson had on the offensive line in his years? No QB in this class rivals Lawrence.
- Excellent upper-body mechanics and throwing motion.
- Plus ability to maintain ball placement/accuracy while throwing on the run.
- Lawrence's accuracy improved during his final season at Clemson, but this is overall not a strength of his game. While Lawerence's ball placement is above average, it's not elite and I wouldn't say it's the best in this class.
- When Lawrence misses, he tends to miss high with his throws.
- Has a tendency to play hero ball and never give up on a play. While this can sometimes lead to improbable successes, they also led to more turnover-worthy throws when he was forced outside the pocket.
- Lawrence finished No. 1 in screen yards, per PFF -- these manufactured yards won't be as easy at the next level.
|2020 v top 25||3||69.6||1,014||7||2||116||3|
|2019 v top 25||2||61.7||527||3||1||96||1|
Advanced stats to know
- Lawrence was 22 of 51 on passes of 20-plus yards (in the air), according to Pro Football Focus, leading to 10 touchdowns and a 97.7 grade.
- Never graded below 90 at Clemson and improved his grade in each season, per PFF.
- Career 90.1 passing grade vs. the blitz, per PFF
When I watch Lawrence on All-22, I see a lot of similarities to Chargers QB Justin Herbert. However, Lawrence is more advanced than Herbert from a mental processing standpoint both before and after the snap. And while I'll give the edge to Herbert when it comes to his touch at all three levels, Lawrence possesses equally as impressive touch over the top on passes that travel 20-plus yards in the air. Lawrence is also faster and more elusive in the open field as a runner.