What was inevitable since Week 17 concluded last season became official Thursday night, when the Jacksonville Jaguars made quarterback Trevor Lawrence the first overall pick in the 2021 draft. Barring a serious injury, regardless of what head coach Urban Meyer might say, Lawrence will be the starter immediately.
After also drafting Lawrence’s college teammate Travis Etienne, the Jaguars have the makings of a pretty good offense. And that’s without knowing any further additions in the draft going into Day 2. The offense Lawrence ran at Clemson has some core similarities to what Meyer ran in his time as a college coach. So the transition (which started via Zoom before the draft) should be as smooth as possible.
But Lawrence will surely have some ups and downs as a rookie, as the Jaguars enter the next phase of the rebuild.
Here are three early prediction for Lawrence during his rookie season.
3 predictions for Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence As A Rookie
3. At Least Two Fourth Quarter Comebacks
In 20 starts for the Jaguars over the last two seasons, among seven total wins, Gardner Minshew orchestrated four fourth quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives. The team should be more competitive this year, setting up Lawrence with some opportunities to come up clutch. He didn’t lose many games in college, but he seems to have the makeup to not get flustered when the chips are down.
The Jaguars may win a some games they won’t be expected to this year. Lawrence leading the offense will line them up to cash in a couple comebacks.
2. Over 4,000 Total Yards
As a sophomore at Clemson in 2019, Lawrence had 3,665 passing yards and 563 rushing yards in 15 games. It’s obviously a step up to the NFL, but he will have opportunities to produce with his arms and his legs. Negative game scripts will only help.
1. No Interception Record
Peyton Manning had a prolific, Hall of Fame career (hello, I’m Captain Obvious). But there’s a record he holds that he does not want-the record for most interceptions in a season by a rookie quarterback (28, in 1998). So he’s “rooting” for Lawrence to play every game this year, on the chance that won’t be the case much longer.
It was a different NFL in 1998. Manning 575 pass attempts led the league that year, which would have put him sixth in the league last season Last year’s No. 1 pick, Joe Burrow, was on pace to lead the league in pass attempts with 646 if he had played all 16 games.
Ideally, Lawrence won’t be threatening the top-5 of the league in pass attempts as a rookie. If we project him for 35 attempts per game, that’s 560 attempts on the season. To throw 29 interceptions, and break Manning’s record, that’d be a 5.2 percent interception rate. Manning’s interception rate as a rookie was 4.9 percent. So, at least in regard to Lawrence, Manning will hang onto his interception record in 2021.