Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will enter the 2020 college football season leading what should be the favorites for the National Championship as well as being the current leader of the pack for the number one pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. While Lawrence is undoubtedly seen as the top quarterback prospect for 2021, how would he stack up compared to this year’s group of quarterbacks?
A very talented quarterback
2020 was considered a struggle for Lawrence, and yet he finished the season with 36 touchdown passes, 3,665 yards, and 8 interceptions, leading Clemson to a 14-1 record. As a college quarterback winning is not everything, but it is a nice thing to have on your resume, and Lawrence has certainly done a lot of that. Through two seasons at Clemson, Lawrence has played 30 games, and won 29 of them. He led Clemson to the National Championship as a freshman and got the team back to the championship game as a sophomore. That title game loss against LSU was literally the first football game Lawrence lost since 2017 when he was still in high school.
There’s also the pure ability he shows on the field. Lawrence can make just about any throw on the field, whether in the pocket or on the move outside of the pocket. Clemson has been winning games because of Trevor Lawrence, not just winning with him. It certainly helps that Lawrence has had a ton of talent at his disposal and a dominant defense.
However, Lawrence has done a fantastic job rallying everyone together and that’s why Clemson has played in the national title game both years with him at quarterback and why they’re favored to get back there again in January 2021.
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How does Lawrence stack up with the expected first-round quarterbacks?
Lawrence certainly would have the edge over former-Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, if not the very least due to the injury factor. Tagovailoa is dealing with the hip injury suffered during the regular season and likely won’t be doing much football activity until his Pro Day. Entering 2020, the discussion between Lawrence and Tagovailoa was close, and the injury history for Tagovailoa would likely give Lawrence the edge.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has become a polarizing evaluation but looked to have secured his spot as a top-10 draft pick in April thanks to his performance at the Senior Bowl, where he was named MVP. However, it is because of that early polarizing debate that he would land him behind Lawrence in the draft rankings. Sure, there have been some questions this season regarding Lawrence, but still not enough to really warrant dropping him below a quarterback who has carried as many questions as Herbert.
At this point, also, there’s really no debate when it would come to Lawrence against quarterbacks such as Utah State’s Jordan Love, Washington’s Jacob Eason, and Georgia’s Jake Fromm. There are simply too many questions surrounding each of those three even regarding their first-round pedigree for them to deserve consideration in comparison to Lawrence.
Would Lawrence beat Burrow for number one?
Lawrence versus LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is definitely the big comparison if we are comparing Lawrence to the 2020 NFL Draft class. We saw these two on the same field in the National Championship game just a few weeks ago. Burrow obviously had the edge that night, as LSU won the title with a 42-25 victory over Clemson. Burrow went 31-of-49 for 463 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Lawrence went 18-of-37 for 234 yards in that same game.
Burrow’s impressive finale followed his incredible performance in the Peach Bowl against Oklahoma, where he finished 29-of-39 for 493 yards and seven touchdowns. In total, Burrow finished the season with 60 touchdowns, 5,671 passing yards, and just six interceptions as LSU finished 15-0.
That said, there have been some whispers that Burrow might not be a slam dunk number one pick. Those whispers are enough to mean that despite their head-to-head loss, Lawrence’s pedigree would likely mean he would still be seen as the top option over Burrow for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Bottom line, if Lawrence was eligible this year, he’d be packing his bags for Cincinnati.