Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence arrives in Jacksonville already looking like a Hollywood creation. The former Clemson University star, is now inviting comparisons to NFL greats that point to a Super Bowl destiny.
Who Trevor Lawrence Could Be Compared to if Things Go Right
Heart: KURT WARNER
Super Bowl title and MVP St. Louis Rams (2000)
Lawrence and retired QB Kurt Warner are both open about the importance of their Christian faith. Both entered the league as married men—Lawrence wed his high school girlfriend this year. Warner was an obscure college QB and, like Lawrence, often credits his success to deep religious conviction.
Legs: PATRICK MAHOMES
Super Bowl title and MVP Kansas City Chiefs (2020)
Over his Clemson career, Lawrence legged out 943 yards, averaging 314 a season. Mahomes ran for 308 yards in 2020. Although Lawrence didn’t run a 40-yard dash at his NFL pro day, he was clocked at 4.78 coming out of high school, around the same time Mahomes posted a 4.8 in the 40 at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.
Charisma: JOE NAMATH
Super Bowl title and MVP New York Jets (1969)
Like Broadway Joe, selected No. 1 overall in the AFL draft of 1965, Lawrence has a rare mix of athleticism, arm strength, sex appeal and Southern pedigree. (Namath led Alabama to a national title in 1964.) Neither shies away from bold opinions. Both are renowned for possessing generationally great hair.
HEIGHT: JOE FLACCO
Super Bowl title and MVP Baltimore Ravens (2013)
At 6’6”, Lawrence stands above most NFL QBs, virtually all of whom are between 6’2” and 6’5”—seriously, check. The exceptions—Drew Brees, Russell Wilson—tend to be shorter. The best Lawrence Super comp is Flacco, also 6’6”. Ditto 2020 Rookie of the Year Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert.
Lawrence’s “Sunshine” moniker recalls ‘70s high school QB Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass, played by Kip Pardue in Remember the Titans. Like Pardue’s performance, Lawrence’s preternatural football instincts and cool-breeze demeanor make him a perfect teammate—empathetic, laid-back, supportive—who can float above the drama that infects every locker room.
Why the Season Might Not Go Well for Trevor Lawrence
1. The Meyer Factor
Of course, when it comes to a No. 1 draft pick, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. A QB’s fate depends on his head coach. Jacksonville’s is a rookie.
“A good football coach needs a patient wife, a loyal dog and a great quarterback—but not necessarily in that order,” declared Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant. It works both ways. Great QBs invariably have a Canton-caliber coach. In Jacksonville, Lawrence will be playing for Urban Meyer, who’s never been an NFL head coach. Meyer is a college coaching legend, but that means zilch at the pro level.
Will he play Jimmy Johnson to Lawrence’s Troy Aikman? Johnson became the first coach to win a college title and then a Super Bowl with the Aikman-led Dallas Cowboys in 1993. Or will his pro tenure resemble Nick Saban’s? Probably the greatest college coach of all time, Saban left the NFL after two drab seasons in Miami, posting a 15–17 record with zero playoff appearances.
2. Sack Attack
Nothing blows up a can’t-miss career faster than a steady diet of turf.
Wunderkind Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck was so damaged by sacks (lacerated kidney, anyone?) he retired at 29. If the Jags don’t get better at pass protection, and fast, dealing with London jet lag will be the least of Lawrence’s worries.
44: The number of sacks endured by Jacksonville QBs in 2020.
43: The number of sacks taken by all Tiger QBs over Lawrence’s three years at Clemson
3. Picked Apart
Lawrence’s passing in three years at Clemson was incredible: 90 touchdowns, just 17 interceptions. But considering Clemson’s talent and many of its opponents’ lack of it—yo, Citadel!—you’d like that second figure to be smaller. It equals the combined total by Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones (three QBs selected behind Lawrence in this year’s draft) during their entire college careers. NFL defenses have brought down an army of college legends.
“THERE’S SOMETHING OF AN ART TO IT, BUT ALL ATTEMPTS AT SCIENCE HAVE FAILED.” — Super Bowl-winning coach Brian Billick on evaluating quarterbacks
4. Booby Trap
The Jags franchise puts Lawrence in a perilous place—London.
From 2013 to 2019, Jacksonville played a series of “home games” in London, an arrangement that will continue in 2021. The U.K. is a great place for a pint, but a wicked weekend getaway. For the Jags, playing “at home” in the British capital requires a nearly 5,000-mile flight with a five-hour time change. It’s a unique challenge, which may explain why the Jags are 3–4 in their London home.
An even bigger issue would arise if, as has been speculated, team owner Shahid Khan—who also owns Premier League team Fulham F.C. and has explored buying London’s Wembley Stadium—relocates the Jags overseas. COVID halted most overseas travel, but it didn’t end the NFL’s dream of having a cash cow franchise in London. Should the Jags want an easy way to mess with Lawrence’s career, a bunch of transatlantic flights each season would be a good way to start.
5. Brain Trust?
When drafting QBs, NFL GMs are brilliant…13.5% of the time.
- 37: Number of QBs selected No. 1 overall in NFL/AFL drafts
- 7: Number of starting QBs who’ve won a Super Bowl title
- 5: Number of QBs who won an MVP award
- 5: Number of QBs who reached the Hall of Fame: Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning