Trevor Lawrence was expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And guess what? He was the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence will likely be the Week 1 starting quarterback when the Jacksonville Jaguars take the field, which will also be the first game for new head coach Urban Meyer.
It’s difficult to predict first-year success for any position, but quarterbacks are especially tough to determine because they have so much responsibility right away. Lawrence has been ready for this opportunity for years, but how does he project in Year 1?
Oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook listed Lawrence’s passing yards over/under at 4,150.5 for his rookie season. For context, 10 quarterbacks accomplished that feat in the 2020 season, including rookie Justin Herbert. However, in NFL history, only two rookies have surpassed that number — Herbert in 2020, Andrew Luck in 2012 — and only four have even surpassed 4,000 yards — Herbert, Luck, Cam Newton in 2011, James Winston in 2015.
Whether Lawrence can reach that mark in his first season as a pro largely comes down to what is around him on the offensive side of the ball. Pro Football Focus graded the Jacksonville offensive line as the No. 22 ranked unit in the league last season, and nothing shakes a quarterback’s confidence than bad offensive line play especially early in the career. As far as weapons, the Jaguars do not have a true No. 1 threat among their pass catchers. DJ Chark Jr. led the team with 706 yards last season in 13 games, and Jacksonville brought in Marvin Jones Jr. this offseason. There is plenty of potential for Laviska Shenault Jr., who had a team-high 58 catches as a rookie last season.
Elsewhere on the offense, Lawrence should find success throwing to his college teammate Travis Etienne, who also went in the first round and is a real playmaker out of the backfield in the passing game.
While there should be a ton of hype for what Lawrence can do at the next level, expecting a top-10 quarterback performance in Year 1 is a bit unrealistic, so we’re going with the under. There are too many questions on the offensive line and without proven elite pass catchers, it’s hard to imagine Lawrence comes away with that much success as a rookie. He has a chance to become the face of the NFL at some point just like he was in college, but that’s not happening in Year 1. Take the under on 4,150.5.
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