Trevor Lawrence had an uninspiring rookie campaign but made a huge leap last season. He's expected to keep getting better and help the Jacksonville Jaguars solidify their spot as one of the top teams in the NFL. However, Jeff Diamond of The 33rd Team also thinks Lawrence must keep delivering the goods before he can join the upper echelon of NFL quarterback.
Diamond put together a list of quarterbacks that are under pressure to show they aren't one-year wonders and included Lawrence, pointing out that he made strides in 2022 but the sample size is too small to consider him a top 5 signal-caller already.
"Lawrence improved his passer rating by 23.3 points to 95.2 with TD passes vs. eight interceptions. He also ran for 291 yards and five TDs and was a Pro Bowl pick. Lawrence had a lousy first half in the wild-card game against the Chargers before throwing for 211 yards and three TDs in the second half as he led an amazing comeback from a 27-0 deficit to a 31-30 victory.
He's only 23 and Jacksonville fans are bullish on his chances to be a top-five quarterback and lead the franchise to greater heights but he must continue his upward trajectory. "
For the sake of transparency, Lawrence made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, meaning that other quarterbacks had to drop out before he got the nod. With that out of the way, the former Clemson Tiger benefited from the arrival of head coach Doug Pederson, who helped him work on his mechanics but also showed him how to carry himself as the leader of the team.
Entering his second year in Pederson's system, Lawrence is expected to keep up where he left off last year, which is why you'll often see him pop up in the top 10 of most quarterback rankings. On the other hand, Diamond has a point, these are projections and you can't really crown Lawrence until he comes through.
The good news is that Lawrence has a solid track record of delivering results. At Clemson, he put his talent on display on his way to the National Championship. And while success at the collegiate level doesn't always carry over into the pros, most draft analysts recognized his potential as a franchise signal-caller.
Even in his underwhelming rookie year, Lawrence at times displayed his ability to make any throws that only a few quarterbacks can pull off. He also remained unfazed despite the fact that the Jaguars got outplayed on a weekly basis. To nobody's surprise, he got better once Jacksonville got him weapons and a competent head coach.
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence isn't a 1-year wonder but most certainly has to improve
In fairness, Diamond might have mischaracterized Lawrence. While he certainly needs to earn the elite moniker, last year wasn't a fluke. Sure, he's only one good NFL season but he's got the resume to make you believe that he can get much better in 2023. If you want to talk about one-year wonder, you should then shift the conversation to Gardner Minshew.
A sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft, Minshew came in as a rookie and gave the Jacksonville Jaguars a spark in 2019, completing 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards with 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. With a chance to prove he was the long-term answer behind center, the mustachioed quarterback came crashing down the following year, which led the Jags to draft Lawrence in 2021.
With the benefit of hindsight it's fair to say that the Jaguars made the right call when they pulled the plug on Minshew to pave the way for Lawrence.
Just like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Lawrence must continue to win games in 2023 if they want to enjoy the spotlight permanently. However, there's nothing that indicates they won't be able to do it.