Trevor Lawrence is here to save the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team has had a roller coaster few years, it was only three years ago that Blake Bortles was 14 minutes away from leading the team to the Super Bowl. What a fall from grace.
Since then the team has cleared out their front office and Minshew Mania has toppled as quickly as it arrived. This has somehow left the franchise in quite a unique position to build a program from the ground up with the most highly touted QB prospect since Andrew Luck.
Why they should take him
He has been the guy forever
Trevor Lawrence was the #1 high school QB recruit for the entire 2018 high school season, a feat not achieved since Matt Barkley in 2009. Lawrence decided to leave his homestate of Georgia for Clemson where he came in and was a split time starter in his freshman year. Trevor became the full time starter four games in. He went on to go undefeated and win the national championship, the first true freshman to do that since 1985. With him also starting all four years of high school (where he broke Deshaun Watson‘s state record for passing yards and TDs), he’s coming into the league with seven straight years of being the starting QB,no major injuries, and only four losses.
The biggest knock with Lawrence has been his accuracy, which he has improved on this year (ending the season with a 69% completion rate). There are many breakdowns all over the internet (one linked below), but he’s about as NFL-ready as you can ask for.
How it changes the team
Jacksonville is coming off a brutal season where they ranked 27th in offense and the 31st in defense (both per DVOA). The team is clearing house, but the pieces that stick around will benefit greatly with an upgrade at QB. Let’s look at the pieces Trevor will have to work with:
James Robinson burst onto the scene this year and should help make this easier on Lawrence. Clemson frequently used the short pass in their offense last year, with Lawrence finishing the season with the most screen yards (686) in college. Robinson ended the season with 49 receptions on 56 targets, proving he can continue to be used heavily in the passing game. In 2020 he lead the league in running back usage, so if there isn’t some competition brought in this offseason, look for Robinson to have a huge year.
2020 Stats: 1070 rushing yards, 7 TDs – 344 receiving yards, 3 TDs
2021 Projection: 1100 rushing yards, 9 TDS – 730 receiving yards, 6 TDs
DJ Chark Jr.
DJ Chark Jr. regressed in his third season, mostly due to quarterback play. Chark has elite measurables, and ended the year ninth in unrealized air yards, a clear area that can be improved with a more appropriate QB throwing him the ball this season. Lawrence has had one teammate go over 1000 yards in each of his three seasons, and Chark will be a candidate to eclipse that same mark in 2021.
2020 Stats: 706 receiving yards, 5 TDs
2021 Projections: 1350 yards, 6 TDs
Laviska Shenault Jr.
In most advanced metrics (PFF Grades, Football Outsiders DVOA etc.), Laviska Shenault Jr. actually graded out better than DJ Chark Jr. this past season. He doesn’t have the same physical tools as his receiving counter part, but the 42nd overall selection from last year is sure to have a more productive sophomore year. Shenault displayed impressive YAC ability this season finishing eighth in avoided tackles after a reception.
2020 Stats: 700 receiving yards, 5 TDs
2021 Projections: 950 yards, 8 TDs
Last year the tackles for the team started all sixteen games despite struggling mightily. The interior of the line performed more admirably :
|Player||PFF Rank (min 50% of snaps)|
Robinson just wrapped up his rookie contract and is unlikely to re-sign. They should be looking to improve both tackle positions this offseason to shore up their pas protection. Luckily, they have an encouraging run blocking unit to fall back on, that finished 13th in RB yards this year despite being in a negative game script most of the season.
Meyer makes his much anticipated NFL debut as a head coach with one of the most anticipated QBs in years as well. Urban’s college teams have always performed well, right from the get go. His legacy is being an elite program builder (and possibly giving his players too much freedom). In his seven years at Ohio State the team ended the season ranked in the top six all but one year. Their offenses averaged more than 35 points in every season, with a lot of responsibility put on the QB. One particular stat to note, in his 17 seasons as a college HC, 14 of them saw the QB have over 100 carries. He knows his NFL legacy will be measured by his young phenom quarterback and will do everything in his power to ensure his success.
Bevell is joining the team after a two year stint in Detroit where he helped a banged up Lions offense finish in the top 12 in passing offense both years. Before that he helped usher a young Russell Wilson into the league for the first six years of his career. His 20 years of NFL coaching experience should help bridge that gaps for his first time head coach and quarterback.
We here at Timeskew, we are a fantasy site, therefore we would be doing all of you a disservice if we didn’t examine what we can expect from a fantasy standpoint with this team in 2021. Let’s look at some of the recent rookie QB performances of players who entered the league as clear cut #1 prospects.
|QB||Yards||TD/INT||Comp %||Record||Fantasy Ranking|
*at the time of season ending surgery
As you can see Trevor has an extremely realistic chance of being a top QB this year (although a winning record may not be so easy). Many of the top performing rookies rely on their legs to ease their transition to the next level and we should expect Lawrence to do the same, especially in Meyer’s offense.
Trevor Lawrence 2021 Stat Projections: 3900 yards passing, 20 TDs – 550 yards rushing, 5 TDs