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Why the Carolina Panthers should tank for Trevor Lawrence in 2020

“I wouldn't disrespect the game with that. We're not [tanking]. We're going to go out there and try to win every game.” — Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores on tanking for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.

Well, Flores held up to his word. The Miami Dolphins had the worst roster from top to bottom in terms of PFF WAR in 2019, and they still managed to squeeze out five wins, knocking them down to the fifth overall pick. Fortunately for them, though, Tagovailoa is likely still going to be there for Miami at Pick 5 due to his potentially career-threatening hip injury and the rise of LSU's Joe Burrow.

There is a lesson to be learned from the Dolphins' 2019 season. The 2021 NFL Draft is likely to contain two of the top quarterbacks in college football from this past season, and both are probably going to be taken within the first few picks of the draft. But one quarterback, in particular, is already one of the best draft prospects of the PFF College era and is a near lock to be taken first overall. That quarterback is Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.

Even though Lawrence has at least one more college football season left to play, the NFL hasn't seen a prospect like him in a very long time. As a result, we might end up seeing multiple teams tank the 2020 season for the opportunity to draft him, and one of those teams should be the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina finished with just five wins on the year and collectively produced the worst team passing grade in the NFL. Kyle Allen finished the season last among qualifying quarterbacks in PFF passing grade, Will Grier posted an abysmal 30.2 passing grade on his limited reps and the 2015 NFL MVP, Cam Newton, appeared in only two games before sitting the rest of the year due to another injury.

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