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#pounditWednesday, September 28, 2022

Articles tagged: Trevor Lawrence

5 NFL rookies facing the most pressure during 2021 season

Trevor Lawrence

There is not a single draft pick who doesn’t face enormous pressure as a rookie, but there’s no denying that some are more scrutinized than others.

Some rookies enter the league with expectations of becoming stars. Some players are tasked with altering the trajectory of an organization entirely. Following the 2021 NFL Draft, there were more than a handful of players who had high expectations.

Here is a look at five rookies facing the most pressure in 2021.

5. DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

After Ja’Marr Chase, Smith was arguably the most sought-after wide receiver in April’s draft. The Giants were very open about their desire to nab him, which is what prompted the Eagles to jump their NFC East rivals to select him. In doing so, they made a deal with the devil by trading a third-round pick to their other rival, the Dallas Cowboys, to move up three spots. It was a strange and unexpected move, but a necessary one to land the Heisman Trophy winner. Smith now tops Philly’s depth chart at receiver and will be their go-to guy in 2021 and beyond. Can he shed the concerns about his size? Can he reach the ceiling the Eagles expect? And can he make that in-division trade worth it as he now battles the Giants and Cowboys a combined four times per season? Those are all questions waiting to be answered.

4. Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants

After missing out on DeVonta Smith, the Giants traded back in the 2021 NFL Draft and eventually selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney — a move many felt was a reach. Although Toney fits New York’s system and was selected based on that projected fit, it’s not why he’s included on this list. Toney’s presence here stems from the bizarre start to his NFL career. He missed time during rookie minicamp with a cleat issue, then skipped some practices due to an unsigned contract, left mandatory minicamp due to a death in his family but still managed to release a new rap single, landed on the COVID-19 list, and is now sidelined over what the team calls “situations.” The entire situation is very strange and has led to the pressure mounting.

3. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

In the minds of many, the value of a first-round running back has dipped substantially over the past decade. Part of the reason for that is their average shelf life, which remains lower than all other positions. Some who stake their reputation on analytics and advanced data would even argue that no running back should be taken in Round 1. The Steelers ignored that memo and selected Harris 24th overall this past April. Right out of the gate, that means he’s up against it to prove his bosses right and the rest of the league wrong. Beyond that, Harris will be tasked with having to carry the load from Day 1. Not only will he start for Pittsburgh, he he will also be their featured bell-cow back. That’s a tall order for a 23-year-old rookie.

2. Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets

First-round quarterbacks are always under a ton of pressure, but there’s a reason why Wilson is named here while others are not. And it should be easy to guess why. The Jets have had a revolving door at quarterback for years. The Sam Darnold failure has left a sour taste in their mouth. They have to hit on their pick of Wilson. That’s just all there is to it. That may or may not be fair to Wilson, but that’s the nature of business in the NFL. The fans are not going to give him much time (see: Daniel Jones across town and Darnold before him). And if New York fans turn on you, things can get ugly in a hurry. Wilson has to start strong and stay strong.

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Could there have been a more obvious pick than Lawrence to top this list? He may represent the most obvious choice, but that comes with being the No. 1 overall pick. There’s no way around that. The hype for Lawrence entering the 2021 NFL Draft was through the roof, and expectations are sky high. Can he turn the Jaguars into a winning football team? Is he capable of being the face of a struggling franchise? Will his college success transfer to the NFL? He’ll face that pressure and those questions on a weekly basis. Any sort of hiccup will be dissected under every single microscope across the country whether it’s fair or not. He will also regularly be compared to every other first-round quarterback that was selected after him. There is a lot resting on Lawrence’s shoulders.

Trevor Lawrence rocks Georgia colors after losing bet with teammate

Trevor Lawrence Georgia colors

Clemson got its first taste of life without Trevor Lawrence on Saturday night, and the result was not pretty. Lawrence may no longer be with the team, but there were still consequences for him after his alma mater lost to Georgia.

Lawrence and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terry Godwin made a friendly bet before the Georgia-Clemson game. The deal was that Lawrence would wear Georgia colors if the Bulldogs won and Godwin, a Georgia alum, would wear Clemson colors if the Tigers won. Georgia pulled out a 10-3 victory.

On Monday, Lawrence paid up.

That type of bet is very common among NFL players and coaches. If you remember, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge was forced to humiliate himself after losing a similar bet with Evan Engram last year (video here). Lawrence might be hesitant to bet on his Tigers going forward.

Urban Meyer discusses risk of starting Trevor Lawrence as rookie

Trevor Lawrence

Starting games as a rookie quarterback in the NFL is one of the most challenging things to do in sports, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will soon learn if Trevor Lawrence is up to the task. Head coach Urban Meyer has no problem acknowledging that the situation is delicate.

Prior to his team’s exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys, Meyer was asked about the risk of starting a rookie quarterback. He gave a candid response.

All rookies experience growing pains, and they tend to be more exaggerated with quarterbacks. There have been countless times where rookie QBs struggle and never seem to get their confidence back. Lawrence has all the makings of an NFL franchise cornerstone, but Meyer is right that the Jaguars still have to put him in positions to succeed.

Lawrence turned in his best performance of the preseason on Sunday, as he completed 11-of-12 passes for 139 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. One throw in particular on Jacksonville’s first drive (video here) had to have Jags fans dreaming of making deep playoff runs.

Like with any other rookie, Lawrence’s performance this season will depend upon how quickly he can bounce back from his mistakes.

Video: Trevor Lawrence flashes his potential with incredible throw

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence was formally named the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback this week, and a throw he made during Sunday’s preseason game was a good illustration of how he landed the job.

Lawrence went 3-for-3 for 62 yards and a touchdown on Jacksonville’s opening drive against the Dallas Cowboys. The drive also featured his best throw of the preseason, which was an absolute dime down the sideline to Phillip Dorsett.

That is the definition of an “NFL throw.” Those are the types of throws that made Lawrence a consensus No. 1 overall pick. If the Jaguars can fix some of the offensive line problems they have been having, we should see plenty more plays like that from Lawrence in his rookie season.

Urban Meyer finally names Trevor Lawrence starting QB for Jaguars

Trevor Lawrence

Urban Meyer insisted all offseason that the Jacksonville Jaguars would hold an open competition for their starting quarterback job, but the head coach has finally made a formal decision.

Meyer told reporters on Wednesday that Trevor Lawrence will start against the Houston Texans in Week 1. The Jaguars followed with a tweet hyping up the No. 1 overall pick.

Unless Lawrence got injured, there was virtually no way he was going to lose the so-called open competition. The Jaguars drafted Lawrence with the intention of having him start immediately, and that is what the former Clemson star is going to do.

Gardner Minshew had a hilarious comment this offseason about how he was not going to go down without a fight, but he will begin the season as Lawrence’s primary backup. Meyer hinted earlier this month that the Jaguars may not be all that patient with Lawrence if he struggles. That, too, is likely lip service. As long as he’s healthy, Lawrence is highly unlikely to lose his starting job this season.

Urban Meyer reveals timetable for Jaguars QB decision

Urban Meyer

While the conventional wisdom is that Trevor Lawrence will ultimately start at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the decision hasn’t been officially made yet by coach Urban Meyer. On Friday, Meyer did offer up a possible timetable for when that might become official.

Meyer said he “could” wait until after the team’s third preseason game to name a starter, but also made clear it would be his preference to make a decision before that point.

Based on that timeline, we should know by next Sunday whether Lawrence or Gardner Minshew will be starting for Jacksonville in Week 1 of the regular season.

Lawrence clearly has the leg up, but Minshew has made it hilariously clear that he won’t back down from trying to win the job. Meyer has also offered an interesting hint regarding what he’ll be looking at when making his choice.

Here are the details of Trevor Lawrence’s first NFL contract

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence has officially signed his first NFL contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars announced on Monday that Lawrence has signed his rookie deal. The contract is worth $36.8 million over four years with $24.1 million guaranteed, according to multiple reports. It also includes the standard fifth-year rookie option.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared some of the specific language in the deal:

Lawrence’s contract is very similar to the one Joe Burrow signed with the Cincinnati Bengals last year. Burrow and Lawrence, of course, were the No. 1 overall picks in the last two NFL Drafts.

Burrow’s deal with the Bengals took a bit longer, as the two sides didn’t come to an agreement until late in July. Burrow’s father had a funny comment about the negotiations at the time.

Lawrence is the favorite to be named NFL Rookie of the Year this season, and he will certainly have every opportunity to live up to the hype under Urban Meyer.

Urban Meyer gives encouraging update on Trevor Lawrence’s progress

Trevor Lawrence

While Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars have been careful to manage expectations around Trevor Lawrence, the head coach let something slip about his rookie quarterback that should have fans excited.

Meyer said in an interview with USA TODAY’s Mackenzie Salmon that Lawrence isn’t ready to start in the NFL yet, but let slip that the quarterback is picking things up faster than expected during minicamp and OTAs.

“He’s not ready yet, but he doesn’t have to be ready yet,” Meyer said when asked about the chances of Lawrence starting in Week 1. “We’ve got a long training camp coming up. He’s probably advanced maybe a little quicker than we would have thought, which was a positive.

“We started installing the playbook with him well before the draft, so you can see the retention. He’s got really good work ethic and he’s progressed really well.”

Lawrence hasn’t been able to consistently practice during camp due to a nagging injury, but that hasn’t stopped him from studying the playbook and learning how to execute. It sounds like the No. 1 pick is exactly as advertised so far. That’s what the Jaguars would have been hoping for, and while Meyer won’t name him the starter yet, it would be a surprise to see anyone else out there in Week 1.

Trevor Lawrence frustrated by practice limitation due to hamstring issue

Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s minicamp is not getting off to the ideal start.

Lawrence has been limited so far with hamstring tightness, and he was held out of team drills Monday. Coach Urban Meyer said Lawrence could play in a game now if he had to, but the team is being conservative and expects to hold him out of Tuesday’s drills as well.

Lawrence said he feels good and that while he understands the Jaguars’ cautious approach, he’s frustrated that the issue has popped up again.

“It’s been about a week and trying to work it back to full capacity and yeah, it’s a little frustrating just not being able to go full speed, but I’m feeling good,” Lawrence said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN. “I’m just trying to not have any more setbacks, so taking it slow. Got some good reps today. So start getting more and more each day this week and kind of work back into it.”

The issue makes it appear likely that Lawrence won’t get any full team workouts in until training camp starts in July. While not ideal, it probably won’t end up mattering all that much.

Lawrence may not be involved, but there is one Jaguars player who’s gaining plenty of attention so far during minicamp.

Trevor Lawrence compares playing under Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer

Trevor Lawrence

Trevor Lawrence is a member of a very unique club: he’s been coached by both Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer, two of the most successful college coaches of the last decade.

Lawrence was drafted by Meyer’s Jacksonville Jaguars after playing for Swinney at Clemson. In a Q&A with Chris Rosvoglou of The Spun, Lawrence was asked about the big differences between Meyer and Swinney.

“I think their personalities are different,” Lawrence said. “Coach Swinney is a bit more goofy and loose, I guess. The structure in the way they do things is very similar though. Like I said, communication and the culture they want to establish is the same thing. They make it super clear, so there’s no excuse for someone to not know what the goal is here. Coach Swinney did that at Clemson and Coach Meyer does that in Jacksonville. I think any great leader needs to do that.”

It’s not exactly a shock that the two coaches have some similar methods. Both made their names in college, and Swinney is still there. Meyer is testing his methods at the NFL level. However, both built standout programs in college that have been able to at least compete with Nick Saban’s juggernaut at Alabama.

Some of Meyer’s calls are already being scrutinized at the NFL level. It remains to be seen if the experiment will work, but right now, Lawrence is totally on board.