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NFL Draft

Optimism, Room For Growth After Trevor Lawrence’s 2nd Preseason Start

  • The Draft Network
  • August 24, 2021
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Following a 15-play, two-series performance against the Cleveland Browns in his professional debut, 2021 No. 1 overall selection and presumed Jacksonville Jaguars Week 1 starter Trevor Lawrence was granted an extended stay under center against the New Orleans Saints, leading six offensive series totaling 30 plays.

In what proved to be a case of a lack of talent around the former Clemson standout who departed New Orleans beaten and bruised due to a lack of stability up front, Lawrence managed to produce a nice showing totaling 113 yards through the air while completing 14 of his 23 attempts. At 6-foot-6, there aren’t many in football who look as fit to masthead an offense as Lawrence, and his poise, IQ, mobility, and arm arrogance provided an excellent look into the future of Jaguars football. And despite facing an army of Saints defenders throughout his first half of play, Lawrence remained accurate and quick-witted playing turnover-free ball. 

During practice the week prior, Lawrence predicated his reps making plays on the run, while delivering the football quickly, and most importantly, on time. His next step? Recognizing the value of cheap yards.

"I did think I got the ball out of my hand quicker this week," Lawrence said. "Just sometimes, I want to find the checkdown. If it's a short completion, let's take five [yards] and move on. I think sometimes I threw it away when I could've hit the checkdown. But I thought that was something I did better this week—getting the ball out of my hand."

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Known primarily as a premier pocket passer with the ability to shred a defense pre-snap, Lawrence’s ability to get out in space on designed boot-action concepts, or creating in space off-schedule will prove to be an integral part of his developing game if he intends to live up to the success expected from a No. 1 overall pick.

Whereas Darrell Bevell’s offense won’t reinvent the wheel by any means, Urban Meyer’s flash for the dramatic and unique offensive concepts has offered a new look within Jacksonville’s offense. 

Inside their own 10-yard line, the Jaguars put Lawrence in boot-action to his blind side, hoping the play-fake to James Robinson would result in heavy pursuit to the weak side of the field. Following the fake, Lawrence immediately found himself in front of 6-foot-6 edge rusher Marcus Davenport. From there, his ability to drive the throw on an over route to Laviska Shenault some 20 yards down the field with a hand in his grill is just elite quarterbacking and touch. And again, although Lawrence remained under pressure for most of his night, his ability to create outside the pocket on designed concepts from Bevell will be paramount throughout the season if the Jaguars look to place their franchise quarterback in the best situation possible for him to flourish.

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This is where you have to pull the reins on Lawrence. Great play on third down and distance, sure, but it is the preseason and the chances of him coming out of the play injured are much too high for Meyer’s liking for a first-down conversion in an exhibition matchup. With sneaky athleticism and a fiery desire to succeed, it won’t be the last time Lawrence sticks his large frame into a cluster of opposing defenders, but for his sake, and for the future of football in Jacksonville for the time being, these types of plays need to be avoided if he suits up in the Jaguars’ third and final preseason game.

All in all, it was a positive showing for Lawrence. With reports continuing to swirl surrounding Meyer’s ultimate decision of who starts Week 1, almost jokingly, Lawrence has left zero wiggle room for Gardner Minshew to trump his stature as the captain of the Jaguars offense. With two weeks before kick-off, It doesn’t take a group of executives or a team of analytics gurus to figure out Lawrence presents the clear future under center in Jacksonville.

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