Trevor Lawrence gets shockingly low spot in QB ranking after Jaguars 2023 collapse

Where does Trevor Lawrence land in NFL Media's latest quarterback ranking?

Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is sacked
Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is sacked / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 season didn't go the way the Jacksonville Jaguars would've wanted. Although there were bright spots, there weren't nearly enough, and they ended up failing to make the playoffs. One of the reasons the Jags weren't able to meet expectations was Trevor Lawrence's regression. The star quarterback was expected to make a leap in Year 3 but instead struggled with injuries and turnovers. Nick Shook of NFL Media seemed to have taken both issues into account when putting together his latest ranking.

Following the Super Bowl, Shook ranked all NFL quarterbacks after the season and placed Lawrence at No. 15, noting that an accumulation of things prevented him from performing at a high level last season.

"I can explain Lawrence’s 2023 season in one word:Almost.A campaign full of near-misses – either on his part or his teammates’ – defined the experience leading up to the team’slate-season collapse. By that point, Lawrence was playing through two or three injuries and couldn’t be the same quarterback. And before then, something was just slightly off in Jacksonville’s offensive operation. "

Shook goes on to say that Lawrence had "some really great moments" but he wasn't consistent enough to help the Jaguars win games.

All things considered, Shook's assessment of Lawrence is relatively accurate. Injuries held him back, and the offense wasn't hot and cold throughout the year. However, the former Clemson Tiger was at the bottom of the list of things that contributed to Jacksonville's collapse. Granted, he was at times careless with the football, fumbling 12 times throughout the season. Similarly, he sometimes tried to force plays instead of taking the checkdown.

Having said that, there were bigger reasons behind the Jags inability to finish 2023 strong. For starters, the offensive line couldn't give Lawrence adequate protection, forcing him to rush his throws. As a matter of fact, it was the team's inability to keep him upright that led him to deal with a myriad of injuries in the second half of the season.

To make matters worse, offensive coordinator Press Taylor couldn't get the run game going, which in turn made Jacksonville one-dimensional. By the end of the year, they wouldn't even try to pound the ball. Not surprisingly, the Jaguars lost five of their last six games.

It's fair to assume that Lawrence can get to the top 10, maybe top 5 if he manages to stay healthy and the Jaguars give him the help he needs. But circling back to Shook's ranking, No. 15 may be a bit too low, especially when you place the likes of Joe Flacco above him. Sure, Flacco showed he can still play and was key in the Cleveland Browns' playoff push but he's not better than Steezy Trev at this stage of the career.

The same is true for Tua Tagovailoa and Kirk Cousins, quarterbacks who pad up their stats in the regular season but fail the deliver in the clutch. Shook's top 5 probably raised a few eyebrows as well. Lamar Jackson won MVP, nobody will take that away from him, but when the Baltimore Ravens needed him to elevate his game, he wasn't able to and fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC South Championship.

Trevor Lawrence is a top 10 quarterback even if he didn't play like one in 10

It's easy to forget but progress isn't linear. It's true that Trevor Lawrence took a step back in his development but that doesn't mean he's trending upward. Just recently, Peyton Manning reminded everyone that it took him a while to put it all together, having gone through rough stretches early in his career. Trevor Lawrence is dealing with his own set of challenges but that doesn't mean he's not one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Lawrence has shown he can play. As recently as 2022, he led the Jaguars to several comeback wins, including the epic upset over the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Wild Card Weekend. The question shouldn't be if he's a top-10 quarterback. It would be better to ask if he can bounce back and play like did during the Jaguars' playoff run a couple years ago.

The short answer should be yes, Trevor Lawrence can rebound but the Jacksonville Jaguars will also need to do their part and put him in a position to succeed. Otherwise, they'll have to endure more seasons like 2023.

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