Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is primed for an even bigger 2023 season

2K0W5GB Landover, United States. 11th Sep, 2022. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is jubilant after the offense scores a touchdown during NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders on Sept. 11, 2022 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. The Commanders defeated the Jaguars 28-22. (Max Siker/Image of Sport) Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

• Lawrence showed no hesitation in the back half of 2022: He was making anticipatory throws with ease, leading to an NFL-high 91.4 passing grade on those plays.

• Always room to get better: Lawrence still needs to be better at knowing when to throw the ball away and live for another down.

• A promising 2023 outlook: Calvin Ridley joins the Jaguars after a season-long suspension, providing Lawrence another proven receiving weapon.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

It seems like Trevor Lawrence has been talked about as the next generational quarterback for the past decade. That's not far from the truth. After setting Georgia high school records in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, he was ranked the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 class by multiple outlets.

It didn’t take long for Lawrence to establish himself at the college level, winning a national championship as a freshman at Clemson. He made the College Football Playoff every year and was a Heisman finalist in 2020. His NFL draft stock soared, and he was the easy No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lawrence's rookie 2021 season didn't go as planned amid a tumultuous — and short-lived — tenure for head coach Urban Meyer. And it was a rough start for the 2022 Jaguars, but something clicked after an ugly Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos in London. It dropped Jacksonville's record to 2-6 on the season, but the team went on to win seven of its next nine regular season games to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Lawrence was the catalyst.

Weeks 1-8 Weeks 9-end of season
Passing Grade (rank) 54.5 (T-33rd) 85.9 (3rd)
Big-Time Throw % (rank) 3.1% (T-22nd) 6.4% (2nd)
Turnover-Worthy Play % (rank) 3.8% (24th) 2.4% (T-13th)
Adjusted Completion % (rank) 73.5% (26th) 78.3 % (T-4th)

He looked comfortable, in control and every bit the player many tabbed as one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory. That's not to say there weren't flaws, though.

The biggest thing separating Lawrence from the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks is his occasional inability to avoid poor turnovers and turnover-worthy plays. There are still too many plays on his tape where he believes in his arm too much and thinks every window is open. One of the best traits a quarterback can have is to know when to throw the ball away and live to fight another down.

QB Turnover-Worthy Play % Throwaways (rank)
Justin Herbert 1.7% 29 (T-10th)
Jalen Hurts 1.8% 32 (T-4th)
Patrick Mahomes 2.1% 45 (1st)
Joe Burrow 2.1% 25 (14th)
Trevor Lawrence 3.0% (T-18th) 23 (15th)

We're comparing Lawrence to the NFL's best quarterbacks in the table above, and while it might be a bit early to do so, that’s the level he can get to — and the level he was playing at in the back half of last season.

One of Lawrence's best traits is his processing speed and anticipation. Out-breaking routes serve as a good test for that. It sounds rather simple, but out routes have to be thrown early to not give the defender any chance. Throwing late results in the defender easily jumping the route for a pick. That wasn’t a problem for Lawrence. He posted a 91.4 passing grade on out routes in 2022, the highest grade in the NFL.

There’s no hesitation in Lawrence's game, which is surprising considering 2022 was his first season in Doug Pederson’s offense. Two of his best throws last year ended up being incomplete, but they showcased his best traits: anticipation and arm talent.

The first play is a Yankee concept. After the play action, Lawrence recognizes that the Titans rotate from a two-high safety look to single-high. He’s then reading that middle-of-the-field safety, sees he opens up to the crosser side, knows he’ll have a chance at the deep post because of that and throws a perfect ball 50 yards in the air. It’s an attempt that not many quarterbacks are going to take because they simply don’t have the ability to make the throw under the circumstances. Lawrence knows he can make it, and does.

The next play is another two-man concept after a heavy play-action fake. This time, the defense stays in a two-high look and Lawrence trusts Christian Kirk to blow by the safety. All he has to do is hold the other safety with his eyes just enough to prevent him from staying over the top. Lawrence then throws the perfect ball over both of them nearly 60 yards in the air — another drop.

The Jaguars have never been afraid to spend big money on free agents, and it gave Lawrence a solid cast of offensive weapons in 2022, headlined by Christian Kirk and Evan Engram. They now have Calvin Ridley, who prior to his suspension was one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL. That gives Lawrence an added weapon on the outside and makes the Jaguars' offense that much more dangerous.

All of that firepower and another year in Doug Pederson’s offense has Trevor Lawrence as a dark-horse MVP candidate, ready to take his game to the next level.


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