Trevor Lawrence is the new face – and hair – of a franchise after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected the Clemson quarterback with the first overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft in Cleveland.
The 21-year-old – who was at his home in Clemson and had to wait nine minutes before hearing his name read by Commissioner Roger Goodell – is a generation talent, touted as the next John Elway / Peyton Manning / Andrew Luck since high school. So no pressure.
In college, he won a national championship in his first season as a freshman. When he left his overall record was 38-2. And should the Jaguars fail to go 17-0, Lawrence will lose the first regular season game of his life after four years at Cartersville High School and three at Clemson.
Trevor Lawrence lifts a Jaguars jersey at home with Commissioner Roger Goodell in Cleveland
Lawrence throws a pass in his last game for the Tigers – a 49-28 defeat to Ohio State
Lawrence, who has already signed several sponsorship deals, looked at the design day at his leisure
He is tall, lithe, athletic, fearless and fast. Able to read defenses, his gun-like arm is finessed one throw, the next. It can extend play and is comfortable outside the pocket, making it quick to pop into space. Balanced and decisive, he’s a first-day starter – a franchise quarterback pending.
And now he’s tasked with transforming the fortunes of the NFL’s most oppressed team.
HEIGHT: 6ft 6in
WEIGHT: 221 lbs
Date of Birth: October 6, 1999
The Jaguars went 1-15 in 2020, with Lawrence – the most popular quarterback prospect in a decade – the reward for their 15-game lost streak.
Since their inception in 1995, the expansion team has had a lean six winning seasons
During its nine-year ownership of Fulham supremo Shahid Khan, Jacksonville has been an eternal joke. They play in front of a half-full audience at the TIAA Stadium. No wonder Khan is obsessed with Wembley and its 84,000 sales.
Khan had a taste of success for a season. In 2017, the Jags went 10-6 and reached the AFC Championship. And three-quarters they handed out a football lesson to the New England Patriots.
But then Tom Brady woke up. Two touchdown passes to Danny Amendola in the last eight and a half minutes later and Jacksonville’s season was over.
They have been stranded since: W12 L36.
But when the New York Jets started to win games, the outlook for Jacksonville suddenly looked brighter.
They cleared the decks. In October, general manager Dave Caldwell was fired. Head coach Doug Marrone followed in January. Khan’s son Tony remained in the post and is now Chief Football Strategy Officer.
While Lawrence waited in the draft, Khan Snr managed to pull three-time national champion college coach Urban Meyer out of retirement – he has pledged to invest in infrastructure as well.
Shahid Khan faces relegation with Fulham, but the Jaguars can certainly only go up from 1-15
Urban Meyer, 56, was pulled out of retirement to coach Jacksonville and Lawrence
The Jaguars were also a ridiculous $ 83 million below the salary ceiling. They have signed 27 free agents, including the underestimated receiver Marvin Jones Jnr.
With ten choices in this year’s design – five in the top 100 – it’s now or never.
When asked about Lawrence last week, Trent Baalke, Jacksonville general manager, said, “Well, the easiest way to answer is” No negatives. “
“In all the research we’ve done, you’re always looking for the stars to align when you look at potential customers, be it physical, mental, or characteristically, anyway. With his situation, like many others in this design, the stars are all aligned and that is what you are looking for. ‘
Meyer added, “We need to add immediate value to our team. That’s the way Trent, myself and our technical staff look at it. That’s how important these choices are, so we’re looking at these choices to have an immediate impact, especially those first four choices. ‘
JAGUARS 2021 SCHEDULE
As an AFC team, Jacksonville is playing their 17th game at home. Last year was the first time since 2012 that the Jags did not play a ‘home game’ in England. The franchise and Wembley are said to be negotiating. The NFL schedule will be released on May 12.
HOUSE: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons.
AWAY: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks
Jacksonville doesn’t have to worry about the laid-back Lawrence off the field.
Earlier this month, he married Marissa in South Carolina. He proposed at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in South Carolina, and after posting their wedding registry, the Lawrences were inundated with gifts from Jaguars fans, including a $ 300 toaster.
In response, the newlyweds pledged $ 20,000 to charities in Jacksonville.
Lawrence and then fiancé Marissa are enjoying the first day of the Masters earlier this month
Fans of the Green Bay Packers found something to cheer for the Cleveland draft
He’s also smart and has signed several sponsorship deals, presumably well aware of the impact an athlete can have in a one-horse city.
Lawrence also signed an approval agreement with Blockfolio for cryptocurrency investments.
As a result, his signing bonus is paid in crypto coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana, which are deposited into his Blockfolio account.
So Khan has his husband. A quarterback who can enjoy the field and can’t take a step off it. A marketable athlete far beyond the borders of the US.
The Jaguars have played a game at Wembley every season since 2013 (their record is 3-4), apart from the pandemic hit 2020 edition, where they would play back-to-back games.
But with their current deal with Wembley coming to an end – the Jaguars are in talks with the FA to play there this season – it’s not known whether British fans will get an early glimpse of Lawrence and the new Jaguars.
But if and when they do, it might be something to tell the grandkids. Are we talking about the new Peyton Manning? It will be fun to find out.