Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, but drew criticism recently with his apparent attitude toward football, which was construed as somewhat aloof by some.
In case there were any doubts about his commitment to the sport, or desire to be great, Lawrence clarified his mindset on social media, hinting that some of his words were taken out of context from a recent feature by Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Rosenberg:
It didn’t seem entirely necessary for Lawrence to do this. No matter what, Urban Meyer and the Jaguars aren’t going to pass him up at first overall in the draft. He’s a generational quarterback prospect and maybe the best one in NFL Draft history.
But in case anyone outside of Jacksonville’s fan base or organization was concerned about how the uber-hyped QB would fare as he takes the next step to the pro game, Lawrence answered the criticism anyway.
Petty Trevor Lawrence subplot was overblown from the jump
NFL analyst Warren Sharp posted the comments Lawrence and other people close to him made about how signal-caller views football in the broader picture of his life:
Sharp’s commentary is a little misguided. Go figure, someone posting something on Twitter before having time to fully think it through not going over well. Quite a common phenomenon these days.
Lest this becomes a larger issue than it needs to be, Lawrence and people in his orbit making statements like these, compared to, say, if this were about Justin Fields or Trey Lance, isn’t a fair comparison. Nor is it fair to spin this into race-related discourse.
Yes, race plays a factor in negatively, lazily evaluating players like Fields or Lance. It can reinforce preconceived notions based on misguided, problematic stereotypes. That’s not what’s happening here, though.
Think about it: Why would Lawrence have a chip on his shoulder? Why wouldn’t he be able to have a less obsessive focus on football than some of his peers?
Answer: Because he’s just better than everyone else at playing quarterback. He’s been “the man” since early on in his high school career. Obviously, whatever he’s done to this point has helped him improbably live up to and even exceed that hype in many respects.
Lawrence was billed as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick before he even set foot on Clemson’s campus. He’s about to fulfill those insane expectations. That takes an incredible amount of talent, sure, but also an excellent work ethic and uncommon maturity to handle such a white-hot spotlight.
After a college career that saw him win a national championship as a true freshman, make the playoffs in all three years and go 34-2 as a starter, it’s safe to say Lawrence has a firm grip on his priorities.
Trevor Lawrence will fit just fine with Urban Meyer on Jaguars
Much has been made about how indefatigably driven the workaholic Urban Meyer is, and how that might not be a great match with Trevor Lawrence.
Jacksonville is being very public about its intentions to draft Lawrence. If there were any serious issues, that wouldn’t be the case. Heck, Meyer wouldn’t have taken the gig in the first place if he didn’t have assurances that Lawrence would be his quarterback.
There’s a working theory I have that’s yet to be disproved. For a team to be successful, the head coach-QB combo has to work, and in the best ones, at least one of the two has a fiery, hyper-competitive personality. If neither of them does, well, things don’t work out.
Think of the relentless Tom Brady and stoic Bill Belichick during their New England heyday. The master motivator Mike Tomlin and the quieter Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh. Remember, too, the seemingly emotionless Eli Manning and animated New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who combined to beat Belichick and Brady in two Super Bowls.
The list goes on, but the sake of time and brevity, think about the Lawrence-Meyer dynamic in this context.
Meyer has the whole relentless, impassioned leadership style on lock. He’s amped up to build his program in Jacksonville, and will push Lawrence to be his absolute best. Lawrence is the calm, cool, collected type who knows how good he is, doesn’t need a chip on his shoulder to thrive, and should mesh extremely well with his new head coach in the NFL.
Worry not, Jaguars fans. Despite your shaky track record of first-round picks, you won’t mess this one up.