NFL personality catches flak for ranking Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence too low in AFC
Trevor Lawrence hit a few speed bumps in 2022 but he also played at a high level at times, especially towards the end of the season and against the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. You would think that should suffice to place him along the top quarterbacks in the AFC. However, Kyle Brandt of NFL Media believes at least nine signal-callers that are better than Lawrence, and he's gotten lots of flak for it.
Brandt recently shared his AFC quarterback tiers and the decision to give Jimmy Garoppolo (Las Vegas Raiders) a category of his own was received with a blank stare. The same happened when he revealed that he had ranked Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers), Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins), Mac Jones (New England Patriots), and Trevor Lawrence below Jimmy G. Brandt then proceeds to ask other members of the GMFB cast who he misranked and Lawrence's name was brought up.
In particular, James McCourty thinks that both Tagovailoa and Lawrence were ranked too low, "I'm going to say Tua but I'm also going to add Trevor Lawrence", McCourty said. "He really took off towards the back end of last season. And both of these two guys, Tua and Trevor Lawrence led their team to the playoffs, so I think that alone, I would pump them up a tier".
By his own admission, Brandt says that he's gotten criticism for ranking Lawrence too low but says that finding the right tier for him was tough, "I love him, most of us do", Brandt said. "I feel like last year was really his true rookie year because the year before, they had Urban Meyer as a head coach, it was a disaster. [Lawrence] wins a playoff game despite playing terribly in the first half, then makes the comeback, it's complicated".
After completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in his rookie campaign, Lawrence made a huge leap in 2022, registering a 66.3 completion percent rate and throwing for 4,113 yards with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. What's even more impressive is that he throw most of his picks in the first half of the season and played like a top-5 quarterback on his way to the playoffs.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have set Trevor Lawrence for sustained success
Trevor Lawrence isn't the best quarterback in the NFL. That title belongs to Patrick Mahomes. Heck, he's not even the second or third. That would be Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. However, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft is narrowing down the gap, and if he can consistently play the way he did in the second half of the 2022 season, he will have a realistic chance to be a top-5 passer in the league.
Working in Lawrence's favor is that this will be his second season under the tutelage of head coach Doug Pederson. He did a good job of learning Pederson's scheme last year and he should master it, which will in turn lead to an improvement, in 2023.
Also, the Jaguars are building around Lawrence and are giving him the best possible supporting cast, besides acquiring wide receiver Calvin Ridley on a trade last year, they also used the 27th overall pick in this year's draft to select offensive tackle Anton Harrison, who has a strong chance to protect Lawrence's blind side for the foreseeable future.
Between his natural progression and the weapons he's been getting, expecting Lawrence to be a top-5 quarterback in the league is reasonable, even if Kyle Bradt thinks he's a tier below Jimmy Garoppolo.