Jaguars draft: QB Trevor Lawrence will be tasked with bucking trend
Potential 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawrence will have a chance to change a trend Jacksonville Jaguars first-round quarterbacks have been a part of.
Head coach Urban Meyer recently had the chance to talk to NBC writer Peter King, and although he didn’t outright announce that the organization would be drafting Lawrence with the first overall pick, he said, “that’s the direction the team is going”. If that’s indeed the path the Jags are taking, the Clemson quarterback will be tasked with bucking a trend.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently made a list of all the quarterbacks teams have drafted in the first round, and this Jacksonville team has had three, Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert, and Blake Bortles. If you’ve followed Jaguars football for the last two decades you will agree none of the names are enticing.
What did the trio do during their tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Sure, Bortles, the third overall pick in 2014, had a few nice moments and he was a terrific quarterback… in Fantasy Football but looking back at his playing days, the Jags won in spite of him not because of him. Also, there’s the fact he’s struggled to latch to a team after being released in 2019. He took two snaps for the Los Angeles Rams that year but hasn’t done much of note ever since.
Before Bortles, the Jags had Gabbert, who was the worst quarterback in NFL history if you read what Michael Lombardi had to say about him. The tenth overall pick in 2011’s draft wasn’t franchise quarterback material and wasn’t certainly the player the Jaguars expected. Nevertheless, he’s carved a nice niche as a backup and recently won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Then, there’s Leftwich, whom the Jags drafted seventh overall in 2003. How long ago was that? MySpace was a social media powerhouse and Mark Zuckenberg was one year away from launching Facebook. The team’s brass gave Marshall product three years to show he was the team’s quarterback of the future but he ended up being outplayed by David Garrard, who helped them make the playoffs and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a shot at finding their franchise quarterback.
In his conversation with King, Meyer says that Lawrence checks all the boxes and is the kind of quarterback he likes and the Jaguars need. Keep in mind that Lawrence can’t do it alone and the Jags must surround him with talent if they want to put him in a position to succeed.
After all, there’s no way Leftwich was going to turn the Jags into a perennial playoff team with Reggie Williams and Matt Jones as their main receivers. Ditto for Gabbert, whose top two wide receivers were a serviceable Cecil Shorts III and draft bust Justin Blackmon.
On the bright side, the Jaguars have been proactive and have aggressively made changes to their roster this offseason, bringing back key contributors and signing a few difference-makers in free agency. They know that they’re more than a quarterback away from contending but they also know the importance of having a franchise quarterback and if Lawrence fulfills his talent, they won’t have to worry about the position for at least a decade.