While Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has been impressive lately, he hasn’t leap-frogged over the success of his 2021 NFL Draft classmates.
A controversial coach. The NFL’s worst team in 2020. A franchise beleaguered by mediocrity.
When Trevor Lawrence was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, he was considered to be the best prospect in his draft class. Ranked ahead of Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Davis Mills, Clemson’s “Sunshine” entered the NFL on a 68-game winning streak in the regular season.
The next chapter of Lawrence’s football career opened with a loss, snapping his impeccable streak of wins. Last season, the Jaguars finished 3-14, qualifying for the No. 1 overall pick once again.
In 2022, the Jaguars are doing marginally better at 4-7, but in their defense, they’re one of five AFC teams with a 4-7 record. Two of their past three games have resulted in half of this season’s wins, and it is a credit to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. However, reviving the Trevor Lawrence hype is already getting out of hand with NFL GameDay’s latest conversation starter.
On Tuesday, the Twitter account dared to ask: is the former No. 1 overall pick the best quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class?
After Week 11, Lawrence ranks first in completion percentage, second in passing touchdown to interception ratio, and second in passer rating… but that’s only since Week 9. Sure, Lawrence is looking like his old Clemson self, which is a promising start, but two weeks of leading the league in those metrics still has him far behind Mac Jones.
Where does Trevor Lawrence rank among 2021 NFL Draft class players?
It’s a bit difficult to accurately compare all six of those quarterbacks taken early in the 2021 Draft, as they’ve all had varying amounts of opportunity. For example, Trey Lance was anticipated to be the shining star of this draft class, especially when he won the starting job over Jimmy Garoppolo, but a season-ending injury has severely limited the already-limited tape on Lance.
Davis Mills also had impressive stats last season on another one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises, the Houston Texans. Much like Lawrence, Mills saw little by ways of winning, yet replacements are already being considered since Mills alone hasn’t been able to uplift his team.
Then there’s Zach Wilson, who has seen success in a meteoric rise with the New York Jets, but Wilson has only seemed to get in his own way with panicked play and restricted reads. That, and losses not being the offense’s fault, led to Wilson’s benching, which doesn’t help any argument in his favor.
Justin Fields has put the Chicago Bears offense on his back this season, and while he has seen early-career struggles, he has proven that he is capable of making an offense hum… if only he has the ideal supporting cast.
And that brings the conversation to Mac Jones, who won the starting job with the New England Patriots over Cam Newton and was the only one of this group to make the Pro Bowl — and the NFL playoffs — in his rookie season. While there are concerns about Jones’ ceiling, he has proven to be the only relatively successful quarterback of this class, which is fascinating considering all the quarterbacks selected before him.
But Mac arguably landed in the best system possible compared to these other teams, which does make a difference for a quarterback’s development. So while Duval is finally seeing the Lawrence that Jaguars fans were promised, he still has a playoff berth and a Pro Bowl nod to go before being considered the best of his class.
As for now, Lawrence is somewhere near Davis Mills and behind Justin Fields and Mac Jones.