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Comparing Trevor Lawrence to other No. 1 overall quarterbacks

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock. Man, does it feel good to say that!


Urban Meyer all but said that former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would be the team’s No. 1 overall selection come draft day in a podcast interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King. That much wasn’t a mystery, but it was essentially sealed following his statements.

“I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going,” Meyer told King. “I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official. But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed.”

As if that wasn’t reassurance enough, later following King’s question about whether or not he could actually determine something about a quarterback my listening to him throw, Meyer would double-down by inviting King to watch his quarterback throw live.

“Someday, Peter, I’ll have you stand there and let you listen. I’ll have an average guy throw one and then I’ll have [Lawrence] throw it. You tell me if you can hear the difference.”

So, barring something miraculous, Lawrence will be the Jaguars’ quarterback following night one of the 2021 NFL Draft set to take place on April 29th, just less than a month from today.

But, how does the compare to the past five No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks? Let’s take a look:

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

First, we take a look at Lawrence himself. The former Clemson quarterback would go on to play three years with the Tigers. He accomplished plenty, winning a National Championship during his freshman season. Over the next two years, he would bring his team back to the National Championship game once (2019), and would be one win away from it in 2020.

Lawrence has had the makeup of a generational quarterback since his high school days, and has been thought of by some as a future No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft since then, too. During his time at Clemson, Lawrence completed 758 out of 1,138 of his passes (66.6% completion percentage) for 10,098 yards, 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

He lost just two games out of the 40 he competed in throughout his career. Only Lawrence has ever earned a 90.0 grade or better by Pro Football Focus in the first three years of his career. He has been thought of as a unicorn.

During his Pro Day, Lawrence stood at 6-foot-5.5, 213 pounds. He competed at an impromptu pro day that was set up in part by Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer.

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (2020, Bengals)

Behind Lawrence, Burrow was probably the highest-rated quarterback coming out of college in quite some time. While he was more of a one-year wonder variety, Burrow possessed all the traits one would want in a franchise quarterback. He would go on to lead the Tigers to an impressive 15-0 undefeated National Championship victory while winning the Heisman Trophy in the process, something Lawrence has never done.

Burrow was expected to be the No. 1 overall selection perhaps midway through his final collegiate season, unlike Lawrence he had a late claim to fame becoming the catalyst to young offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s raise to stardom that ultimately landing him the same position in the pros as the with the Carolina Panthers. Burrow actually graded higher than Lawrence coming out of college, according to Pro Football Focus, earning an impressive 94.3 grade. Lawrence sat at 91.5 for the 2019 season. In 2019, Burrow completed 66% of his passes for 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He had 78 touchdowns throughout the entirety of his collegiate career.

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (2019, Cardinals)

While Murray was a high-profile prospect coming out of college, there were still plenty of questions surrounding the former Sooners quarterback. While the final season of his career was overly impressive, similarly to Burrow, Murray had only established himself as a top-tier quarterback for one season. His size was also a major question mark at just 5-foot-10.

In 2018, Murray took the Big 12 by storm, completing 260 out of 377 (69%) of his passes for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. With the Arizona Cardinals holding the top selection there was pre-draft speculation that his former Texas Tech head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, could pass on the young signal caller, opting to go with 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen instead.

That, of course, was short-lived as the Cardinals would select Murray. Murray was given a PFF grade of 94.6 during his final season at Oklahoma.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (2018, Browns)

While not exactly the same, Mayfield’s “knock” going into the 2018 NFL Draft was similar to Murray’s. His frame wasn’t quite there in order to “qualify” for the prototypical quarterback. Mayfield also played in an easier conference than what people would define as difficult. Mayfield was one of the more accurate passers to come out, and his overall completion percentage for his career is the second-best on this list at 68.5%.

While at Oklahoma, Mayfield quickly became one of the program’s best quarterbacks in history, throwing 131 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Due to the Sooner’s quarterback-friendly scheme, Mayfield was able to use sheer volume to increase his statistics but it was clear that his accuracy and ability to throw at any angles was one of his best traits.

Mayfield earned a grade of 94.6 during his final season, according to PFF.

Jared Goff, QB, Cal (2016, Rams)

Goff is perhaps one of the most polarizing quarterbacks on this list. The Los Angeles Rams would trade up to No. 1 overall with the Tennessee Titans for the No. 15 selection, two second-round picks in 2016, a third-round pick in 2015, a first round pick in 2017 and another third-round pick in 2017. A king’s ransom.

The issue during the 2016 NFL Draft, however, was that it featured a poor quarterback class. While both Carson Wentz and Goff were thought of as the two best in the group, neither presented impressive resumes coming out of the college game.

At the time, Goff had the worst college record of any No. 1 overall pick eve at 14-23. While quarterback wins are not exactly a metric, it does determine how much success one has been used to at the previous level. Goff’s stats were impressive enough, however, completing 96 touchdown passes in his career. His 62.3% completion percentage, however, is the worst among all quarterbacks on this list.

According to PFF, Goff earned a 92.4 during his final season at Cal.

Jameis Winston, QB, FSU (2015, Buccaneers)

Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft, there was little question that Winston was the best quarterback among the group. While former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was certainly in the running, Winston’s size, makeup and success made him an ideal quarterback for any team picking. Winston was even though of, at the time, as one of the most sure-fire quarterbacks to select.

During his tenure with the Seminoles, Winston would go on to lose just 1 game. He would play just two seasons, entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore. In 2013, Winston took the Seminoles to their last National Championship victory.

Winston and Burrow are perhaps the most successful quarterbacks on this list, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and ‘19, respectively. While his success in college didn’t ultimately translate to the NFL, he will forever be thought of as one of the best collegiate quarterbacks of all time.

According to PFF, Winston earned a 94.0 grade for his final season with the Seminoles.