It's widely assumed that once the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick at the 2021 NFL Draft, it won't take them too long to make their selection official. The worst kept secret in the league is that the Jags will be taking quarterback Trevor Lawrence at the top overall spot as the Clemson phenom has been the presumptive No. 1 pick dating back to when he first arrived on campus and led the Tigers to a national title during his freshman season in 2018. While Lawrence will likely be the first name off the board, he won't be the first draftee to shake the hand of commissioner Roger Godell as he enters the league.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Lawrence has declined the invitation to attend the draft -- which will be held in Cleveland -- and will instead be watching it at Clemson with friends and family.
While it's typical to see the No. 1 overall pick go through all the pomp and circumstance of talking to the stage, putting on his new team's hat, and raising up a jersey alongside Goodell, this isn't unprecedented. Quarterbacks Jameis Winston (2015) and Baker Mayfield (2018) along with pass rusher Myles Garrett (2017) are some recent examples of No. 1 overall picks opting to stay at home as they go through this major life event. Of course, 2020 top pick Joe Burrow also spent last year's draft remote, but that decision was out of his control as the entire spectacle was done via videoconferencing due to the pandemic.
Unlike last year when original draft plans needed to be scrapped due to COVID-19, the NFL world will be in Cleveland for this year's draft festivities. The league recently announced that fans will be in attendance for the draft that will take place across various locations in Cleveland, including FirstEnergy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Great Lakes Science Centers. A select number of prospects will also take the stage; however, Lawrence will not be among them.
Despite Lawrence not being there to take in all the hoopla of draft night in person, that will hardly take away from the excitement of him coming into the NFL. He's been billed as one of the most polished prospects to ever enter the league and has been spoken in the same breath as Andrew Luck, John Elway, and Peyton Manning when they were coming out of college. If he can live up to that type of hype, the Jaguars will be sitting pretty for the next decade-plus.
Meanwhile, the 2021 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m. ET and runs through Saturday, May 1.