Prominent NFL personality expects Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence to make yet another leap

• Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence made huge strides last season

• Stephen A. Smith thinks he can be even better in Year 3

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is introduced before an NFL first round of the playoffs.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is introduced before an NFL first round of the playoffs. / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

Trevor Lawrence has taken the reins of the Jacksonville Jaguars and is seen as a potential MVP candidate ahead of the 2023 season. But despite how well he played in the second half of his sophomore campaign, NFL talking head Stephen A. Smith of ESPN thinks Lawrence is capable of making yet another leap in Year 3.

Smith joined a roundtable in which he and his peers discussed which quarterback is poised to make the biggest leap in 2023. While colleague Sam Acho picked Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears, Smith went with Lawrence, citing his talent and the amazing comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card Round of the 2022 playoffs as the reasons.

"I will remind everybody, forget simply that it was a 31-30 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers," Smith told Sam Acho and Marcus Spears. "Remember, they were down 27-0. Remember, Trevor Lawrence threw four interceptions in the first half, in his first playoff performance. It's enough to demoralize any quarterback and send them into depression. I'm not joking about that for years to come because that's hard to overcome.

"He didn't overcome it the next season. He overcame it 15 minutes later, after halftime break. And came out there and threw four touchdowns. Okay, and spearheaded them to victory 31-30 He was absolutely spectacular in the second half. Now don't get me wrong, Brandon Staley is lucky to have a job if I was the owner of the Chargers, he wouldn't have a coach seat in commercial. I wouldn't have allowed his behind on a team plane after blowing a 27-point lead in the playoffs, okay?", Smith said.

Smith continued. "I"He's I'm telling you right he would've got fired and I wouldn't have bought him a plane ticket unless I was forced to, ok? That's how ticked I would have been, but it doesn't take away from the greatness of Trevor Lawrence to be that young, coming out of Clemson. No. 1 overall pick, the expectations, 6'6" with that arm. When I think about Trevor Lawrence, I think about a Justin Herbert, I think about those kinds of comparisons and to show up in the playoffs and to outperform Justin Herbert in that second half. To be assisted by Doug Peterson to look at his teammates have the faith in him that they have. I'm telling you right now, Trevor Lawrence is coming".

The Jags were trailing 27-0 and Trevor Lawrence was a big reason why, throwing four interceptions in the first half. However, they refused to go down without a fight and were able to come back from behind to win 31-30.

Lawrence had an underwhelming rookie campaign but showed improvement under the tutelage of head coach Doug Pederson. The former Clemson Tiger got off to a solid start in 2022 but he made several mistakes that ended up hurting the Jags in a handful of losses.

However, something click after the Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos in London and he began to play like a top-10 quarterback the rest of the way, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for 2,273 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the last nine games.

Smith isn't the only talking head that expects big things from Lawrence. Nick Wright of FS1 thinks the third-quarterback is a legitimate MVP candidate for the 2023 season. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports seems to think so too. Last but not least, Nick Akridge of Pro Football Focus believes Steezy Trev can join the upper echelon of NFL quarterback if he can "avoid poor turnovers and turnover-worthy plays."

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is in a position to keep improving in 2023

Basically, Stephen A. Smith is saying that Lawrence now needs to consistently play like he did in the second half of the playoff game against the Chargers, or at least, get off to a less dreadful start. And all things considered, that's a pretty reasonable expectation.

Lawrence was still getting a grasp of Doug Pederson's offense early in his second season and he felt more comfortable as time passed. Now heading into Year 3, he's got full control of the offense and better timing with his receivers, so expecting him to pick up where he left off doesn't seem far-fetched.

Last season, Lawrence made progress and helped the Jaguars reach the playoffs. If he hits his stride in 2023, they should feel comfortable about their chances of making a deep playoff run.

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