Trevor Lawrence Is on the Path To Becoming Elite

Trevor Lawrence started the year hot, but he's since faded into the background. His comeback win against the Baltimore Ravens proves we should pay attention.

After a hot start to the year, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence had faded into the NFL background. Jacksonville was playing well but not winning early on, and it was tough to give credit to a quarterback in a division best left unwatched without many big wins under its belt.

Lawrence was back in the spotlight after a fourth-quarter comeback win against the Baltimore Ravens, leading Jacksonville with a stunning performance in the game’s final frame – including a nearly perfect final drive to put the Jaguars ahead with seconds left on the clock.

He played well all game, and there were some moments that exposed why exactly Lawrence was so well-regarded in the draft and why film junkies still think he’s a high-level talent.

Trevor Lawrence Proved His Skill on His First Touchdown Pass

His first touchdown to JaMycal Hasty encapsulates a lot of what makes Lawrence such a good quarterback.

The throw shown in the video clip below is remarkable for a number of reasons. Because the Ravens are playing Cover 6 — a mix of Cover 4 on one side and Cover 2 on another side — he knows that any deep shot on the Cover 2 side will be difficult and will require space and pinpoint accuracy.

He knows that there’s going to be a sinking corner based on the look he gets pre-snap and, from the behavior of Marcus Peters, that the corner is going to sink to cover the flats. This tells Lawrence that the cornerback is only going to float up to cover Hasty’s deep route if he has a good reason to, like a receiver underneath or Lawrence’s eyes leading him up.

Lawrence also knows that the safety is too far away from the sideline to do much if he can thread the throw and keep defenders away.

After the snap, Lawrence keeps his eyes to the flat and shakes his shoulder as if he’s throwing an out route, freezing Peters and keeping him flat-footed. Then he releases the ball before Hasty breaks free and gets open because he knows the leverage is there to give Hasty space.

It also means he gets rid of the ball quickly enough that the safety, who is still aligned inside of the numbers, can’t press Hasty to the sideline. All of that pairs with good ball velocity to get the pass there in time and perfect ball placement to allow Hasty to catch the ball in stride and head into the end zone. And he did it all while getting nailed by Calais Campbell.

There are a lot of high-level quarterbacks who wouldn’t be able to make that play.

Trevor Lawrence Has All the Tools He Needs To Succeed

Throughout the game, Lawrence showcased an ability not just to dissect defenses pre-snap but go through full-field reads quickly post-snap when the look he needed wasn’t there. What intrigued coaches about Lawrence was not just his excellent pre- and post-snap reading capability, but his arm strength, athleticism, and accuracy.

Under former Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer, it was tough to see those things emerge from the mess that was the 2021 Jaguars. But with Doug Pederson now at the helm and a better supporting cast surrounding Lawrence, we’re seeing what the young QB can accomplish.

Week 12’s final drive — which started off with an incompletion and a sack — was brilliant. Facing 3rd-and-21 from their own 14-yard line with 1:51 left and no timeouts, the Jaguars needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion to win the game.

We know the conclusion: Lawrence and the Jaguars drove downfield and finished the game in regulation instead of overtime. Through that, Lawrence survived blitzes with man coverage, soft zone, and mixed man-match zones. He also made an even better throw to nearly close out the game.

Lawrence shows the maturity, decision-making, and mental acuity to be a high-level NFL quarterback and is pairing it with more consistent play, high-level accuracy, and great arm strength. Even with a below-average receiving corps, Lawrence ranks 11th in expected points added per play and 12th in first-down rate.

He still needs to work on turnover prevention; his rate of interceptions is fairly low, but he’s been luckier than most quarterbacks when it comes to dropped picks. On top of that, he’s had fumbling issues coming off of sacks. Lawrence’s confidence is admirable, but it can get him into trouble.

But given that he’s working with an offensive line ranked 29th in pass-block win rate, Lawrence suffers from one of the highest drop rates in the league from his receiving corps and throws to a group of pass catchers who have significant difficulty separating from their coverage, he’s functionally moving mountains.

Lawrence will be one to watch over the next few years.

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