Trent Baalke has had a lot of ups and downs since taking over as the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager in 2020, but there is no denying the job he’s done when it comes to adding young talent to the roster.
While there are a handful of names you could point to as being potential stars at their respective positions, the pièce de resistance, if you will, is obviously Trevor Lawrence, who was just featured in Nick Shook’s (NFL.com) annual All-Under-25 Team for the 2023 season.
The list features the names of 23 different players under the age of 25 (cutoff is September 7, 2023) with 12 being on the offensive side of the ball and 11 on defense. Lawrence was chosen as the lone quarterback on the list, which should come as no surprise considering the massive leap Lawrence took from year one to year two.
A year ago, I would have scoffed at this selection. That’s how much progress Lawrence made in one season with Doug Pederson as his head coach. In 2022, Lawrence demonstrated the ability that made him the most prized prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, throwing for 4,113 yards and a 25:8 TD-INT ratio. He led the Jaguars to their first playoff win since the Sacksonville days. The future will remain bright in Jacksonville for as long as Lawrence is on the roster because he’s only going to improve.
As Shook alluded to, Lawrence’s stellar play last year was just the beginning for the young QB. With another step forward in his second year under Pederson, we are sure to see Lawrence top the list yet again in 2024, seeing as Trevor is still just 23 years of age.
There were a few notable Jacksonville omissions on the list too, however. While Shook did ponder picking Tyson Campbell as his second cornerback on the list, he ultimately went with Patrick Surtain II of the Denver Broncos over the second-year standout.
The Jaguars’ Tyson Campbell has a strong case to be included here, too (Next Gen Stats metrics certainly back that up). However, I’m going with Surtain…
Travis Etienne was also passed over (Jonathan Taylor) after tallying the second most all-purpose yards for players under 25 (Isaiah Pacheco) in the whole league last season with 1,441.
Josh Allen is just passed the age threshold for this list, otherwise, he likely would have nabbed one of the edge spots over the likes of Aiden Hutchinson or Jaelan Phillips.
Overall, this list is a fun one to debate as there is a ton of great young talent around the league right now. Were there any other Jaguars that should have made the cut?