You shouldn’t be surprised that Trevor Lawrence is living up to the hype

You shouldn't be surprised that Trevor Lawrence is living up to the hype

Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars are 5-2 after beating the Saints on TNF
Photo: Getty Images

I remember the first time I saw Trevor Lawrence. It was the summer of 2017 during an NFL Network show devoted to the Elite 11, the preeminent competition for high school quarterbacks. It’s been the ideal barometer for who the next batch of signal-calling prospects are. And I remember seeing he was a Clemson commit during the peak of their dominance. The long hair, the height, the poise, the accuracy … it was the obvious complete package. And Lawrence lived up to the lofty expectations set for him as a once–in–a–generation prospect for the Tigers. That was until he showed up in the NFL, proving that jump is a massive one for any quarterback. Taking the helm of a crappy team isn’t a permanent band-aid.

It took until year No. 3 in the NFL, but Lawrence has finally started to show on the professional circuit what all that hype was about. Take Jacksonville’s win over New Orleans last night as a prime example. Was he spectacular? No, and Lawrence’s restraint shouldn’t be labeled as a lack of ability. It’s maturity. Lawrence doesn’t have to be Superman to win with the amount of talent the Jaguars have put around him. The Clark Kent persona sometimes has to come out, namely that game-winning drive against the Saints. And he never threw a pick-six like his gridiron counterpart from The Big Easy, Derek Carr, did last night.

It only took two plays on Jacksonville’s final drive of the game not to involve a kneel for it to score. And the Saints’ retort ended in a turnover on downs. Comparing Lawrence to Carr isn’t a fair fight, as the former Clemson quarterback has been better than Carr since high school. Sorry not sorry for that dig. The only question now is how far Lawrence can take the Jaguars and why it took three years for the proper Lawrence to show up. Both answers are a little more straightforward than you might think.

Lawrence can be the catalyst to lead the Jaguars deep into the playoffs, almost like he did last season. Those playoffs were the learning-on-the-fly experience he needed to put all the pieces together. That’s why staging is so important in cooking. Not the platform where musical theater takes place, with a hard A, stage. Like a more hands-on internship. You learn if you can burn on the line. If you can’t find another career. If you can, you can become Gordon Ramsay. And that was the four-interception first half against the Chargers last year where he fixed it in the second half to lead Jacksonville to victory. And then he nearly took down the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs on the road the next week. That’s not dismissing how awful throwing four interceptions in two quarters is. It’s how those horrible passes didn’t tank his team’s season. And now, in the easiest division to win in football, the Jaguars have the inside track to dominating the AFC South for years to come.

In NFL terms, two years for a quarterback actually isn’t that long. Zach Wilson was given two years’ worth of chances before Aaron Rodgers came to town. How many second chances has Carson Wentz had? At the end of last year, Lawrence made no doubt that this was his franchisee for the foreseeable future, and it’s only built that equity this season. Jacksonville is 3-0 on the road and is in the middle of a 4-game win streak that should reach five next weekend with a game against Pittsburgh. Then comes a home contest against the 49ers. What a matchup that will be, as Lawrence vanquishing one of the best defenses in the league would be his nationwide flag-planting moment. And doing that before the end of year No. 3 in the NFL is mightily impressive no matter how he got here. 

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.