You can ask 10 NFL fans to tell you who the best 10 quarterbacks are right now, and they'll all come up with 10 completely different lists. Trevor Lawrence should make the cut, even if he's not playing nearly as well as he did in the second half of the 2022 season. After all, Lawrence is a big reason the Jacksonville Jaguars are 8-6 but don't say that to Mike Lombardi, who's not particularly fond of him.
Lombardi took to Twitter to bat for Brock Purdy, who doesn't get nearly as much love as he deserves. While Lombardi brought up several valid points, he found a way to drag Lawrence into the conversation, arguing that the third-year quarterback resembles Daniel Jones more than he does Patrick Mahomes.
Lombardi goes on to say that he isn't anti-Lawrence but only after he went out of his way to say that he and the Jags aren't good. He might've tried to seem reasonable, but by the end of the thread, it feels like he's yelling at clouds.
Lombardi might not remember but Lawrence was responsible for the biggest comeback in the history of the NFL playoffs. Down 27-0, he remained unfazed and led the Jags to a 31-30 win. Moreover, the former Clemson Tiger has played like an elite quarterback at several stretches throughout his young career. It's true that he's been inconsistent at times but that's expected from a player that is still in his third NFL season.
Granted, Lawrence needs to work on holding onto the football. Just last week, he lost two fumbles against the Baltimore Ravens. Similarly, he hasn't always made sound decisions nor thrown the most accurate passes this season. That said, there's a difference between saying "he needs to play better," and "he's not good, and Jacksonville is soft".
Meanwhile, Daniel Jones completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 909 yards with an underwhelming two touchdowns and six interceptions. Simply, the comparison doesn't make sense, and it shouldn't be up for debate. Then again, Mike Lombardi may not be the best source of football wisdom.
Lombardi was a general manager for the Cleveland Browns in 2013 and made several questionable moves during his stint. Besides moving on from kicker Phil Dawson and return specialist Josh Cribbs — a couple of mainstays of the team at the time — he went with the uninspiring Jason Campbell as QB1. He wasn't much better at drafting.
In 2013, the Browns took edge rusher Barkevious Mingo at No. 6. Mingo spent three seasons in Cleveland and only he had to show for was seven sacks. The rest of the Browns' picks that year were equally unproductive, but if that wasn't enough, he managed to alienate pretty much every other executive in the building along the way. You need to be a special kind of bad to pull that off.
The Jaguars have a franchise QB in Trevor Lawrence, even if Mike Lombardi cannot admit it
Going back to Mike Lombardi's criticism of Lawrence, it feels like the one post comparing the long-haired quarterback and Daniel Jones popped up on his Twitter timeline. As Robert Mays of the Ringer recently noted, Lawrence has been held back by injuries to the offensive line, and inefficient pass protection.
Benjamin Solak, one of the top young analysts in today's NFL, is equally fond of Lawrence, noting that he's far from the reason the Jaguars have struggled with offensive efficiency this year. Again, Lawrence has room for improvement and he's nowhere near the level Patrick Mahomes currently is.
Having said that, disregarding Trevor Lawrence because the Jaguars have been dealing with injuries and are coming off three straight losses feels like a lazy narrative. Trading for wide receiver Calvin Ridley hasn't had the impact he expected in 2023. Center Luke Fortner hasn't made a significant leap in Year 2. The front office didn't address the left guard position in the offseason, and the offensive line, as a whole, can't run block, which has forced Travis Etienne to earn every single yard he gets.
The bottom line is that Brock Purdy is a good quarterback but you don't have to talk down Trevor Lawrence to make Purdy look better. His play on the field speaks for him, and while Lawrence is having a bit of a rough stretch, that doesn't make him a bad quarterback.