NFL teams were salivating over Trevor Lawrence during the national championship game, but there is just one problem. Lawrence cannot enter the 2019 NFL Draft. The NFL will have to wait until 2021, which is the soonest the Clemson quarterback can declare for the draft.
Lawrence put on a performance against an Alabama defense that we rarely see under Nick Saban. After the game, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay noted Lawrence would be the No. 1 pick in 2019 if he was eligible, as teams would trade up to try to land the quarterback.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler remarked at the immense NFL talent all over the field during the title game. Brugler believes we might have witnessed the next three No. 1 picks playing against each other.
“There is a realistic scenario that the No. 1 overall picks in the next three NFL Drafts are on the field tonight. 2019: DT Quinnen Williams 2020: QB Tua Tagovailoa 2021: QB Trevor Lawrence,” Brugler tweeted.
Some NFL Scouts Think Lawrence Can Be the Best NFL Prospect Ever
The hype started well before Lawrence arrived at Clemson and beat out Kelly Bryant for the starting gig early in the 2018 season. Some NFL people think Lawrence could be the best prospect ever per Bleacher Report. That means after Lawrence’s freshman season, there are some people who think Lawrence is a better prospect than top-end quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck at this point in his college career.
“I don’t think that’s hyperbole at all,” an NFL scout told Bleacher Report. “With what he now knows, his physical ability at 19 years old, how he wants to be coached and wants to be great, his ceiling is limitless. He makes throws now that guys in our league can’t make.”
Lawrence Could Have Helped a Shallow 2019 QB Class
The NFL was already skeptical of the 2019 NFL draft quarterback class, and the group is even shallower now that Justin Herbert returned to Oregon for another season. Dwayne Haskins is the favorite to be the No. 1 quarterback selected in a few months by a quarterback-needy team like the Giants or Jaguars. As McShay noted, Lawrence would leapfrog Haskins and the other quarterbacks if he was eligible.
NFL rules stipulate that players must be three years removed from graduating high school before they are eligible to play in the NFL. This means Lawrence can enter the draft after completing his junior season in 2021.
Lawrence is sure to have some down moments over the next two years, but NFL teams can always point to the tape of what Lawrence did against one of the best defenses in college football.
Clemson WR Justyn Ross Is Likely to Be a Highly-Touted 2021 NFL Prospect as Well
This Clemson team is full of future NFL Players. Like Lawrence, Clemson wide receiver Justyn Ross is a freshman who put on a show against Alabama. Ross is a big, physical receiver at 6’4″ and 210 pounds. Ross is an early favorite to join Lawrence as a top pick in the 2021 draft.
Clemson has been a wide receiver factory over the years, and Ross along with several other current Tigers players are likely to add to that reputation. Ross finished with six receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown against Alabama.