He is projected to be the consensus number one pick in NFL Draft. He is also thought to be the one "sure-thing" quarterback of the 2021 NFL Draft. Even so, last year, I was not overly impressed with Trevor Lawrence, and that opinion carried over to the 2020 college season. However, I had not watched him play this year, that is, before the end of November 2020. So, with everyone still hyping him up as the next great NFL QB, I went into my "lab" and studied Trevor Lawrence. I watched the Miami and Virginia games against Clemson, in their entirety and with a particular focus on Lawrence's skills. This is what I determined.
Trevor Lawrence is not the lock many people think he is. How did I come to this conclusion when all of the great NFL analysts and scouts seem to predict the opposite? Here is my reasoning.
Trevor Lawrence's main attribute is his mobility and running ability. He's an excellent zone-read runner who likes to take on defensive players occasionally. However, if he does that in the NFL, his career will be noticeably short. Clemson tends to throw many short passes, running back screens, swing passes to running backs and wide receiver screens. Travis Etienne, Clemson's versatile star running back, is the straw that stirs their offense. They use Etienne a lot in the passing game. In fact, Etienne was 2nd on the team in receptions and receiving yards at the time of my "lab work." I was surprised because this resulted in a good amount of Trevor's passes being relatively short. Etienne does the rest.
Lawrence's mechanics are good, but he is still not as accurate, nor does he have the ball placement of University of Florida's Kyle Trask or Alabama's Mac Jones. Additionally, he is sometimes a little erratic when under pressure and on the run, in contrast with last year's superstar college QB, Joe Burrow, who excelled in this area. Lawrence will throw a great clear out go route or deep-crossing route and then miss on easier or similar passes. His accuracy is not consistent, and he doesn't throw the variety of passes that, let's say, a Kyle Trask throws.
Trevor doesn't "seem" to do many pre-snap-reads. When he goes through progressions, it is swift. A little too fast for my liking because it raises the question, is he really going through his progressions. If he goes through his progressions at this speed because he is reading the defense, that's a huge plus and will probably lead to him being an outstanding NFL QB. My "guess" is that he knows who he wants to throw to and does not read the defense. However, it's hard to determine what he's doing without further study and interviewing him.
Anyway, all of these observations suggest to me that Trevor Lawrence is not the lock to be the next "sure-fire" great NFL quarterback. There is nothing he does exceptionally well. In some ways, Trevor Lawrence is a lesser version of the Houston Texan's Deshaun Watson. Now, let's be clear about this, Lawrence is not in the class as last year's Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow when it comes to quarterbacking instincts. Lawrence probably has a stronger arm than Burrow, but Burrow is off the charts in every other quarterbacking metric. So, whoever drafts Trevor Lawrence is by no means getting a "sure thing."