Trevor Lawrence is a top NFL draft prospect even though the Clemson quarterback cannot turn pro until 2021. NFL rules stipulate that a player must be three years removed from high school before they can become a professional, but that does not mean teams are not working on evaluating Lawrence.
As Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young noted, Lawrence is already a better NFL prospect than most players eligible for the draft.
“If it was possible [Trevor Lawrence] could have went to the draft last year,” Young told Heavy at the College Football Awards media night. “That’s what people say, he was that good.”
Lawrence is the favorite to be the first quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL draft and has a good chance to be the No. 1 pick. The Clemson quarterback will likely be battling Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields who he faces in the College Football Playoff matchup. Earlier this season, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler noted that Lawrence has yet to lock up the top spot.
“Trevor Lawrence is (still) really good, but he’s not the no-brainer No. 1 QB in the 2021 class. Fields is the real deal,” Brugler tweeted in September.
Trevor Lawrence NFL Draft Projections
Lawrence had about as good of a start to his college career as possible. Lawrence eventually beat out Kelly Bryant for the starting quarterback spot early in the 2018 season then proceeded to lead Clemson on an undefeated national championship run. The Clemson quarterback threw for 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 65.2 percent of his passes during his freshman season.
Lawrence’s passing numbers were somewhat down during his sophomore season if you compare it with the games he started in 2018, with the exception of his completion percentage which jumped up more than three percentage points. He threw for 3,172 yards, 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 68.8 percent of his passes this season heading into the College Football Playoff. The Clemson quarterback did use his legs a lot more this season as he also rushed for 407 yards and seven touchdowns.
After Lawrence’s first season, there was some talk that the Clemson quarterback is the best pro prospect since Andrew Luck. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller noted in September that some believe Lawrence was over-hyped as one talent evaluator noted.
“I tried to tell you guys … Y’all got all over him way too fast and got caught up in the hype,” an anonymous evaluator told Bleacher Report. “There were concerns last year, and his offense really just bailed his ass out—as did his defense.”
There Is Still Time for the 2021 NFL Draft Landscape to Change
Lawrence is still the favorite to be top quarterback drafted in 2021, but there is still plenty of time for things to change. Brugler explained that the NFL draft process is fluid for both Lawrence and Fields.
It’s always tricky forecasting a year out with QBs in the draft. I think Lawrence and Justin Fields are going to be highly sought after QB prospects. But what if they regress? Or get hurt? And meanwhile you passed on Tua or Burrow or another QB this year? The Eagles traded up multiple times to draft Carson Wentz because they liked him, but also bc they thought the next year’s QB class was going to be weak. Meanwhile, that following draft class produced Watson and Mahomes