Trevor Lawrence: 2021 NFL Top Prospect

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence passes against LSU during the second half of a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Trevor Lawrence has been one of the most well-known college football players since 2018, with many suggesting he is the most prolific QB prospect since Andrew Luck. He has led Clemson to two national championships, and his only loss was in this past year’s national title game. Before January 13, 2020, Lawrence was 29-0 as QB for the Tigers. The knock on Clemson is that the ACC is weak compared to the likes of the SEC. Regardless, Lawrence beat Alabama. He beat Notre Dame. He beat Ohio State. Only LSU has defeated the Lawrence led Tigers. At the basis of this, Trevor Lawrence is a winner.

Standing at 6’6, 220lbs, Trevor Lawrence has the frame that GM’s want in their QB. In 2018, Lawrence aired out 3,280 yards for 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In 2019, Lawrence threw for 3,665 yards for 36 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and holding a 65.8 completion percentage. Pair that with 103 rushes for 563 yards and 9 touchdowns, Lawrence showed that he could have been the first overall draft pick in the 2020 draft. He topped every passing category in the ACC in 2019. 7th in Heisman voting in 2019. Back to back ACC championships. A 2018 National Champion. Scouts have been flaunting about Lawrence since he won the starting QB job at Clemson. As we look ahead to the 2020 season, I want to dive into what makes Trevor Lawrence so good.

Arm Strength

Everyone wants their QB to have an absolute cannon, but that just isn’t always the case. You can have a guy that can air it out if need be, but is not always comfortable in doing so. Some guys are great at working off playaction to create miss-matches in the intermediate part of the field. Lots of guys find their success utilizing the short passing game and letting their receivers eat up yardage after the catch. Trevor Lawrence likes throwing the ball down the field. It’s almost like it’s his first read, and damn is he good at it.

Here we are against South Carolina late in the first quarter. A little bit of a slow start for the Clemson offense, but here they are blowing the top off a defense. Lawrence escapes a rush by now 49er Javon Kinlaw and delivers an absolute missile to his receiver, in stride, for a 65 yard touchdown.

Enter in the 2019 ACC championship game against Virginia. 1st quarter, 7-7 ball game, Lawrence getting pressure from his backside to deliver a strike down the field for a touchdown to start the onslaught.

Skip ahead to midway through the 3rd quarter, Lawrence darts the nail in the coffin on a deep toss to setup inside the goal-line.

As pleasing as it is to see a QB launch the ball down the field, delivering a strike with some serious velocity is just as beautiful. Here we have Clemson looking to end the half with a score. 2nd and 13 with 0:50 left on the board, Lawrence delivers a ball into the tightest of windows.

Seeing Lawrence roll to the left and throwing across his body with such fluidity and releasing with velocity is what separates himself from the pack.

Placement

Having the power to make throws is one thing, being able to be accurate is another. Lawrence has shown time and again that he can deliver the ball in the perfect spots for his receiver without the defender to make a play. I’ll just let these clips from his game against South Carolina in 2019 do the talking.

Those throws seem so easy for Lawrence, and maybe it is. South Carolina does not have the premier corners that the big-time schools have. But wait, Ohio State does. This first clip shows Lawrence’s ability to give his receiver a shot, without allowing the defenders to come up with an interception. The corner was able to force his route more towards the sideline so the receiver wouldn’t have the space to make the grab that he otherwise would.

Insert Jeffrey Okudah, the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, into the equation. He is a lock-down corner in terms of man-to-man coverage. Lawrence delivered the ball in a spot where only his receiver was able to make the grab in anticipation that Okudah would be on his back hip, which he was not.

Running Ability

Being a proficient passer is the number one duty to being a QB. Adding the threat of rushing creates an enormous amount of headaches for opposing defenses. Lawrence isn’t a Lamar Jackson type of runner, but he is very productive.

Back to the ACC Championship, early in the 1st quarter, Lawrence executes a read option that is crucial in forcing defenses to respect his rushing game. Here, a nice 15 yard carry gets him the first down.

South Carolina, early first quarter. Often times, you’ll see QB’s scramble out of the pocket to find a receiver and either force a throw or throw the ball out of bounce. Lawrence can’t locate an open receiver, sees open grass, and takes it inside the 5.

After watching Lawrence over the past two years, I rarely see him slide. He plays the game hard, which I can’t criticize. However, if I’m a GM, and I’m paying my QB millions of dollars, I do not want himself to take unnecessary hits. For example, his playoff game against OSU in 2019. 3rd and 2, Lawrence has the easy first down. Just slide.

With that said, he also gives himself a chance to make a play like this.

Trevor Lawrence vs Chase Young

Chase Young, now Washington Redskin (#2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft), had an opportunity to slow Lawrence down by attacking him from his blind side. Two plays in particular caught my attention. First, in the 1st quarter, Lawrence is faced with a 3rd and 10, already down by 10. In an attempt to make a play, Lawrence scrambles to his left, only to be met by Young.

Lawrence 1. Young 0. 3rd quarter, Clemson now up by 5. 1st and 10, Lawrence finds Young chasing and beats him around the edge for a nice pick up.

Pressure Situations

Here is when the money is made. Let me set the stage for you. Trevor Lawrence is 28-0 in his career. College Football semi-final vs #2 ranked Ohio State. 4th quarter, 3:06 left to go, down by 2. Lawrence sets up shop deep in his own territory at the 6 yard line. In Trevor Lawrence fashion, history ensues.

Conclusion

Trevor Lawrence is currently the favorite to be the first overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has shown that he has all of the tools to be a starting QB in the league. What I will say is that I do not expect him to have a Heisman campaign in the fall. I would like to see him put up the same, if not better, numbers than he did last season. Preferably, less interceptions and more completions. However, as we will get into, I would not be surprised to see a guy break out next year and over take him in next year’s draft. Who that will be? Maybe one of the next few guys I will cover. If you made it this far, I thank you. I would appreciate if you would follow the blog and like us on Facebook.