Kyle Brandt of NFL Media raised eyebrows earlier this year when he said that Trevor Lawrence was in Tier 6 among AFC quarterbacks ahead of the 2023 season despite the fact that he's brought much-needed stability at the position for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brandt isn't alone though. One of the biggest busts in league history recently proclaimed that Sleezy Trevor was just the eighth-best passer in the conference.
This might have flown under the radar but Ryan Leaf ranked every AFC quarterback on an episode of The Straight Line Podcast in late June. To nobody's surprise, Patrick Mahomes seized the top spot and Joe Burrow finished second. Josh Allen landed at No.3. So far, everything looks good but then, things started to take a turn. Lamar Jackson popped up at No. 4, followed by Aaron Rodgers. Russell Wilson took the sixth spot and Justin Herbert made an appearance at No. 7. At last, Lawrence showed up at No. 8, and here's what Leaf had to say:
"At eight, I have Trevor Lawrence. Huge leap in Year 1 under Doug Peterson", Leaf said. "And I expect an even bigger leap this offseason. What we saw down the stretch that got them into the playoffs, that's what we need to see from Week 1, and I expect that from Trevor Lawrence".
"Not a lot being talked about coming out of Jacksonville. He's just going to work, guys have gotten healthy. They have a lot of great skill position players offensively the defense is really young. I like Trevor Lawrence at the No. 8 spot," Leaf said.
After a less-than-stellar rookie campaign, Lawrence showed growth early in the 2022 season. On the other hand, he was also responsible for several mistakes that played a role in the Jags' 2-6 record start. But starting Week 9, he played like a top passer and helped Jacksonville finish 7-2 the rest of the way.
Heading into the 2023 season, Lawrence is poised to pick up where he left off and keep improving under the tutelage of Doug Pederson.
Ryan Leaf undeservingly gave Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence a low spot in his ranking
Make no mistake, Ryan Leaf's unproductive NFL career has no bearing in his assessment of other quarterbacks. In fact, you could even argue that he knows what a bad quarterback looks since he was a pretty dreaful one. Also, he deserves lots of credit for turning his life around.
Having said that, it feels like Leaf assigned some spots based on past production, especially Lamar Jackson at No. 2 and Aaron Rodgers at No. 4. Both were good quarterbacks last year but among the five best? Probably not. Also, it's odd to see Justin Herbert finishing one place above.
Herbert entered the league one year before Lawrence and he's put up some pretty good numbers but he couldn't come through when the Los Angeles Chargers faced the Jags last year. If you argue that Herbert hasn't had optimal coaching, you should then give Lawrence a pass for having Urban Meyer in 2021.
The good news is that signs point toward Lawrence having a banner year in 2023 and if he and the Jaguars win games, it will be hard to leave him out of the top 5 in any quarterback ranking.