Trevor Lawrence had a rough rookie season but he showed last year why the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Heading into Year 3, Lawrence has a chance to solidify his spot as one of the top passers in the league, which led Maurice Jones-Drew of NFL Media to include him on a list of the top 10 players that came out of the 2021 draft.
Jones-Drew put together a list of the best 10 picks from the 2021 draft ahead of the release of Top Players of the 2023 season. The former Jaguars running back/turned analyst included Lawrence at No. 10 because of the growth he had last year after a less-than-stellar rookie campaign.
"He sneaks in at No. 10, but if I did this article last offseason, Lawrence wouldn't have made this list. His rookie numbers -- 59.6 completion percentage, 12 TDs to 17 INTs and a 71.9 passer rating -- paint a picture of Jacksonville's stormy 2021 campaign. But after bringing in coach Doug Pederson last offseason, Lawrence blossomed into a star in 2022, the one everyone envisioned he'd be when he was drafted first overall."
Jones-Drew goes on to say that Lawrence is the real deal and expects to take the Jaguars "all the way".
Lawrence struggled as a rookie but that was mainly due to the lack of support he had from the Jags. Besides not having an optimal supporting cast, Urban Meyer had no idea on how to get the most out of him. Realizing they needed to put their starting quarterback in a position to succeed, Jacksonville hired a head coach that actually knew what he was doing in Doug Pederson and made upgrades to his arsenal of weapons.
To nobody's surprise, Lawrence made a huge leap in 2022, and heading into Year 3, he's expected to pick up where he left off. Here are the other players that pop up in Maurice Jones-Drew's list: WR DeVonta Smith (Philadelphia Eagles), RB Najee Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers), WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions), OT Penei Sewell (Detroit Lions), WR Jaylen Waddle (Miami Dolphins), C Creed Humphrey (Kansas City Chiefs), CB Patrick Surtain II (Denver Broncos), WR JaMarr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals), LB Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys).
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence may be deserving of a higher ranking on the list
All the players Jones-Drew included are deserving of a spot on his list but it's a bit puzzling to see Lawrence at No. 10. After all, he was off to a slow start to his NFL career but he played at an absurd level in the second half of the 2022 season. On top of that, he plays the most important position on the football field. No disrespect intended to either Humphrey or Harris but were they really more valuable to their respective team's success than Lawrence was to the the Jaguars last year?
Again, Lawrence's rookie season wasn't something to write about but he's changed course since then. In fact, signs point to him getting much better in Year 3. Besides entering his second season in Doug Pederson's system, he's got a new weapon in wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who should have a huge impact in his first healthy season since 2020.
Simply, the sky is the limit for Trevor Lawrence, who is in a position to take the Jacksonville Jaguars all the way as Jones-Drew suggested. And if he does, he will be near the top of most lists and rankings by the end of the 2023 season.