AFC South QB power rankings? Where do the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence stand?

• Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence just got paid, but does that make him the best signal-caller in the division?
Sep 24, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback CJ Stroud (7) and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) at EverBank Stadium.
Sep 24, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Houston Texans quarterback CJ Stroud (7) and Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) at EverBank Stadium. / Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been the talk of the town because the Jacksonville Jaguars gave him a five-year extension worth $275 million with $200 guaranteed. This doesn't mean he's the best signal-caller in the NFL but if the Jags didn't think he was capable of helping them win it all, they wouldn't have given him such a massive pay bump.

This begs the question, how does Lawrence stack up against other quarterbacks in the AFC South? Here's a ranking of the division following the conclusion of mandatory minicamp.

4. AFC South post-mandatory minicamp rankings: Will Levis, Titans

The Tennessee Titans needed a bit of time to hand Will Levis the keys to the offense. Projected to as early as the top 10 in last year's draft, the Kentucky product ended up sliding to the second round.

With Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis in the fold, the Titans weren't in a hurry to thrust Levis onto the field, which is why he was a healthy scratch early in his rookie season. It wasn't until Week 8 that he got a chance to start. He made the most of it, completing 65.52 percent of his passes for 238 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Unfortunately, Levis wasn't able to build off of his debut and was inconsistent the rest of the year. Then again, the Titans saw enough of him to make them think that maybe, just maybe he's the long-term answer behind center. To find out, they got the sophomore quarterback a pair of weapons in Tyler Boyd and Calvin Ridley. They'll join a receiver corps that includes DeAndre Hopkins, the team's only trustworthy target in 2023.

Having said that, Levis hasn't shown nearly enough as his division counterparts and still has plenty to prove. For that reason, he lands last in this ranking.

3. AFC South post-mandatory minicamp rankings: Anthony Richardson, Colts

The Indianapolis Colts raised eyebrows last year when they drafted Anthony Richardson fourth overall. While the former Florida Gator flashed at the collegiate level, his lack of experience and playing time raised concerns among analysts and the scouting circle. Fortunately for Indy, Richardson quickly put questions about his availability to rest.

Right out of the gate, the Florida native showed he could belong in the NFL. However, a shoulder sprain ended his rookie season after just four games. Not long after, he underwent surgery and he's now back at full strength, or as close as he can be.

Even though he missed valuable playing time last year, Richardson no longer has to worry about getting acclimated to the pros like he did last year. That should help him pick up where he left off before he got hurt.

That said, the Colts quarterback must provide a bigger sample before he can move up in all rankings.

2. AFC South post-mandatory minicamp rankings: Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence showed in 2022 that the Jaguars made the right decision when they drafted him first overall the year prior. Besides helping them qualify for the playoffs, he was a huge reason they overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Wild Card Weekend.

To nobody's surprise, Lawrence was one of the hottest quarterbacks ahead of 2023, regardless of where he stood in the pecking order. Although he got off to a promising start, he eventually got hurt and his performance suffered as a result.

To make matters worse, Lawrence wasn't getting protection from the offensive line and was pressured at an alarming rate. This hurt his overall production and was one of the reasons the Jags didn't qualify for the postseason.

The team's brass realized Lawrence needed more help and they gave it to him in the offseason. Besides bringing in veteran center Mitch Morse, they got the quarterback a pair of new weapons in Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis.

The expectation is that with a much improved supporting cast, Lawrence will solidify his place in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks. But for the time being, there's another quarterback at the top of the AFC South.

1. AFC South post-mandatory minicamp rankings: CJ Stroud, Texans

C.J. Stroud is entering 2024 as the best quarterback in the AFC South. Like it or not, the NFL is about what you've done lately, and the Ohio State Product had a better 2023 season than Lawrence. Does that mean he'll be the top signal-caller in the division next year? It's hard to tell right now, but he did enough in his rookie campaign to make you think that he'll have a favorable chance.

While Lawrence had a bit of a regression in 2023, Stroud played like a vested veteran despite the fact that he had been playing at the collegiate level the year before. By the end of the season, the California native had completed 63.9 percent of his throws for 4,108 yards with 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions. That's the kind of statline even experienced quarterbacks would strive to get.

The Texans don't want Stroud to take the foot off the gas pedal, so they traded for Stefon Diggs in the offseason. With Nico Collins and Tank Dell also in the mix, his arsenal of weapons is one of the best in the league.

It will be interesting to see whether Stroud will hold onto his spot as the top passer in the AFC South or Lawrence will reclaim it. That will be one of the most exciting plotlines of the 2024 season.

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