Bleacher Report shows Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence respect on list of top NFL passers
Football is a team sport but if you want to consistently win football games you need a good quarterback. Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, they have one of the best ones in the league in Trevor Lawrence, who has improved considerably since going first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Just recently, Kyle Brandt of NFL Media rightfully caught some flak for ranking Lawrence below Jimmy Garoppolo. On the other hand, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report got it right with his assessment of the former Clemson Tiger.
Knox recently drew up a quasi-ranking of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and placed Lawrence at No. 4, noting that the growth he showed in 2022 was remarkable. Moreover, Knox thinks Lawrence "is poised to make a legitimate run at league MVP", after the addition of Calvin Ridley to the wide receiver corps and the tutelage of head coach Doug Pederson.
"Many readers will probably take issue with Trevor Lawrence ranking ahead of Jackson, Herbert, Allen, and Rodgers here, and that's understandable. He's only been in the league for two seasons and has just one year of quality play on his resume. However, the amount of growth that Lawrence showed in 2022 is tremendous. He was lost under head coach Urban Meyer as a rookie, completing just 59.6 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and a 71.9 passer rating."
That's right, Knox ranked Lawrence higher than Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Josh Allen. The only quarterbacks that were placed above him were Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, and Patrick Mahomes. The only signal-caller that might be better than Lawrence is Josh Allen. However, if T-Law continues to get better in 2023, it's reasonable to think he can be better than his Bills counterpart.
As Knox noted, Lawrence finished his rookie campaign with more interceptions than touchdowns and had a completion percentage rate lower than 60.0. However, he was able to bounce back under Pederson, who had to basically start from scratch after Urban Meyer derailed his first NFL season.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence has a chance to be in the top 5 in 2023
Lawrence's improvement has not been linear. He made a handful of mistakes that ended up costing the Jags a few wins early in the 2022 season. But then, something clicked and he began to play at an absurdly high level, leading Jacksonville to comeback wins against the Dallas Cowboys, the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Baltimore Ravens. The best was yet to come though.
After going 6-1 in the last seven games of the season and clinching the fourth seed in the playoffs, it wasn't unrealistic to think the Jaguars could be one-and-done in the postseason. And for a moment, it looked like they were going to get crushed by the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. However, Lawrence got to work and helped Jacksonville overcome a 27-point deficit to come on top.
Although the Jags went on to lost to the Kansas City Chiefs the following week, Lawrence proved he could win games in the face of adversity. Now, he's got to build on what he did last year and make the most of the favorable situation the Jaguars have put him in.
Besides trading for Calvin Ridley last year, they also drafted Oklahoma left tackle Anton Harrison to make sure he stays protected. Furthermore, the team's brass bolstered the running game with the additions of D'Ernest Johnson in free agency and Tank Bigsby in Round 3 of the draft, so Lawrence doesn't have to win games by himself.
In the end, Bleacher Report got it right with Lawrence. Maybe he's not currently better than Josh Allen right now but he's got a realistic shot at surpassing him in 2023 and solidifying his place in the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.