NFL talent evaluators sound off on Trevor Lawrence

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Tyler Nettuno
·3 min read
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As we’ve seen this year, there can be a lot of controversy and disagreement when it comes to quarterbacks. Even in a draft where the first overall pick has been all but guaranteed for the last three years, there are still analysts (and even league insiders) who prefer Zach Wilson or Justin Fields over Trevor Lawrence.

A recent report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero showcased anonymous quotes from NFL scouts, executives and coaches about the quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft. Speaking about Lawrence, one AFC Scout addressed the “controversy” stemming from his interview with Sports Illustrated in which he said he doesn’t carry a chip on his shoulder.

“His adversity’s the expectations. He can’t have a bad day,” the scout said. “To his credit, he’s almost too good to be true of a kid. There are not a lot of adults, in our league or any walk of life, that can handle that spotlight that kid’s been under. And he’s kind of embraced it. This guy’s been told how great he is. This guy’s had those expectations coming in, which was a different kind of pressure, and he lived up to it.”

However, there are others who aren’t sold on Lawrence, especially when it comes to his billing as a prospect on par with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.

“Trevor Lawrence is a really good player,” an NFC coordinator said. “I don’t know if he’s a generational talent like people are saying.”

According to an AFC quarterbacks coach, Lawrence doesn’t have the playmaking ability that a player like Joe Burrow has, though he said he understands that the Jaguars can’t afford to pass on Lawrence.

“If you didn’t take him and you’re Jacksonville, and it turned out that he was a perennial Pro Bowler, then you’ll never live it down,” he said. “They have to take him. I think the intangibles are there. He can throw the ball. But he does not have unique, rare playmaking ability. If I’m comparing last year to this year, Joe Burrow (who was drafted first overall by the Bengals) is picked over Trevor Lawrence 100 times out of 100.”

Every prospect has naysayers, and it’s natural to do your due diligence in trying to find every possible weakness in a player, especially when your job and livelihood depends on it. But as one college scouting director put it, talent evaluators tend to overthink decisions like this.

“There’s just over-scouting that goes on in our league — like a guy’s got to have holes or something,” they said. “I go back to when [Lawrence] was a freshman — if he could enter the draft [then], he would’ve been the first pick to me after his freshman year. What is giving people pause are probably the two (college football playoff) games he lost, the one to Burrow (and LSU, in the title game) and the one to (Justin) Fields (and Ohio State, in a semifinal game) where he wasn’t at his best, to be straight about it. But he’s so good and talented and athletic. C’mon. That guy can win you Super Bowls.”

None of these comments will change the fact that the Jaguars are going to take Lawrence first overall. All they can do is hope that those who have hangups about his transcendent abilities turn out to be wrong.