Trevor Lawrence no longer needs to threaten to get out of going to the Jets as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. That’s because the Jaguars have officially won the “Tank for Trevor” sweepstakes.
The Clemson superstar quarterback, a generational talent and the unquestioned best prospect in next year’s class, can start preparing for NFL life in Jacksonville. The Jaguars (1-14) have the league’s worst record, losing every game since their Week 1 upset of the Colts. But their problems in trying to win games have been mostly tied to an ineffective defense.
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Their offense, meanwhile, is already set up for Lawrence to have immediate success, much like the Chargers’ offense was for Justin Herbert in 2020. General manager David Caldwell was fired and offensive-minded coach Doug Marrone is likely to be relieved of his duties after the season. Luckily for the Jaguars, the blueprint for their upcoming GM-coach search is clear: Get the best support for Lawrence and a get a play-caller who can make the most out of his elite athletic skill set.
Luckily for Lawrence, much of the support work is already done. The Jaguars also have the most money available under the salary cap in 2021 and an extra first-round draft pick after the No. 1 overall they will use to take Lawrence.
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The Jaguars found an exceptional feature back in undrafted rookie James Robinson this season. They also have a wide receiver who profiles as a No. 1 in D.J. Chark. Good-looking rookies Laviska Shenault Jr. and Collin Johnson will have bigger roles after Chris Conley and Keelan Cole head to free agency. Tight end Tyler Eifert is under contract for one more year.
The offensive line is above-average and has provided consistent run blocking for Robinson. The Jaguars can keep the unit intact by re-signing left tackle Cam Robinson, or it can look to upgrade via the draft or free agency.
The Jets have some young skill players and offensive linemen, but they are not close to being as established as the Jaguars’ weapons and blockers are. The AFC East isn’t the most desirable destination, either; Lawrence would be playing catch-up to Josh Allen as the class of the division’s QB group while also facing the daunting defenses of Bill Belichick and Brian Flores twice a season each.
As for the South: The Colts don’t have Philip Rivers signed after this year. The Titans have Ryan Tannehill playing well, but his production is tied to their running game and he has a limited ceiling. The Texans do have Deshaun Watson locked in long term, but that should have appeal for Lawrence — he’ll get a chance to have epic passing and running duels with a fellow Clemson national champion.
The Jaguars need a massive overhaul on defense to be in position to contend for the playoffs with Lawrence in the near future. But the NFL is an offense-minded league, and having a special player at the game’s most important position is half the battle.
Regardless of whether Adam Gase would somehow remain New York’s coach, the Jets didn’t seem like a good fit for Lawrence all along. The Jaguars seem just right, and there is no choice now, because Lawrence will be their choice.
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