Jaguars’ search for franchise quarterback ends with Trevor Lawrence

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence (Photo by Aubrey Lao/Getty Images)
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence (Photo by Aubrey Lao/Getty Images) /

After months of speculation, it’s official. The Jacksonville Jaguars made Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Keep in mind this everybody saw this coming and head coach Urban Meyer telegraphed the pick several times. Moreover, the national media and fans spoke about the former Tigers quarterback as if he were already part of the team.

The Jaguars haven’t been very good in the last decade and one of the main reasons for their lack of success was their inability to find a franchise quarterback. Back in 2011, they invested a first-round selection in Blaine Gabbert but he quickly flopped. Jacksonville then took another shot in the draft and selected Blake Bortles third overall in 2014. The UFC product couldn’t meet expectations and was released after the 2018 season.

After moving on from Bortles, the Jags tried a different approach and signed quarterback Nick Foles to a four-year $88 million contract in 2019. Almost right away, Jacksonville experienced buyer’s remorse and ended up going with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, who performed better than expected.

As good as Minshew was in 2019, he struggled in his sophomore campaign and was benched in favor of rookie Jake Luton and veteran Mike Glennon. You could argue the then-head coach Doug Marrone mismanaged the quarterback position but the truth is that the team didn’t have a competent signal-caller, which contributed to the team’s 16-game losing streak in 2020.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been looking for a franchise quarterback.

While it wasn’t pleasant to watch the Jaguars lose 16 consecutive games last season, their futility on the football field helped clinched the top pick in 2021’s draft and they did it in the year when Lawrence was the best quarterback prospect available.

When Jacksonville drafted both Bortles and Gabbert, Jacksonville didn’t have many better alternatives — In Bortle’s case, maybe Derek Carr  — so you could say they chose them by default. This is not the case with Lawrence, the Jags will have the chance to take the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.

The Jaguars have previously drafted three quarterbacks in the first round, Byron Leftwich in 2003, Gabbert in 2011, and Bortles in 2014. None of them were as talented as Lawrence coming out of college though. It’s fair to say Jacksonville clinched the top pick, the first time in team history, at the right time.

The Jaguars have never had a true franchise quarterback but it feels like Trevor Lawrence will change that soon.

Next. Jaguars draft primer with picks and position rankings. dark