Trevor Lawrence goes No. 1 in 2021 NFL draft; Zach Wilson goes No. 2 to Jets

·Columnist
·3 min read

CLEVELAND — Trevor Lawrence was the No. 1 recruit in America coming out of Cartersville High School in Georgia in 2018.

Now, after three brilliant seasons at Clemson, he’s the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

The Jacksonville Jaguars made it official here Thursday, taking the 6-foot-6 quarterback with the top overall selection. They can only hope he delivers the same success at the pro level that he did in high school (two state titles) and college (one national championship).

There was little suspense when commissioner Roger Goodell announced the selection at an outdoor venue in downtown Cleveland. The pick was all but certain the moment the Jaguars posted a dreadful 1-15 season, edging out the New York Jets for the draft’s prized spot. 

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the Jacksonville Jaguars selection of Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 29: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the Jacksonville Jaguars selection of Trevor Lawrence with the first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Jets followed, as expected, with the selection of BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.

The San Francisco 49ers revealed the biggest mystery of the draft when they used the third overall pick on North Dakota State Trey Lance, concluding a run of QBs in the first three picks. Atlanta ended the string when it picked Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. 

While success is never guaranteed, many scouts consider Lawrence the most sure-fire quarterback prospect to enter the league since Andrew Luck in 2012.

The Jags are in a full reboot, having lured Urban Meyer, a three-time national championship coach in college, to give the NFL a shot. Part of the job’s appeal to Meyer was knowing he would have the chance to start fresh with Lawrence.

In three seasons as a starter, Lawrence completed 66.6 percent of his passes and threw for 10,098 yards and 90 touchdowns against just 17 interceptions. He also ran for 943 yards and 18 scores.

Clemson went 38-2 in games he started, winning three ACC championships, making three playoff appearances and, as a freshman, winning the national title in the 2018 season by blowing out Alabama 44-16. The NFL has essentially been waiting for him ever since.

“[There are] no negatives,” Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said earlier this month when asked about Lawrence. “[With] all the research we’ve done, you’re always looking for the stars to align … with his situation … the stars all align.”

Lawrence, 21, is in line for a four-year deal worth approximately $35 million. He’s also already has endorsement deals with Adidas, Gatorade and others. Earlier this month he married Marissa Mowry, who he’d dated since high school.

Lawrence did not attend the drafft event in person, choosing to celebrate with family and friends in Clemson.

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